Sometimes at the end of the evening news, there is a good news feature to cheer you up after hearing the bad news. Recently there was a story about a woman in New York who had the idea of cooking free soul food twice a week and serving it out on the sidewalk for those who were hungry. She had been released after 20 years served in prison. In finding a new direction for her life, Sharon knew that she knew how to cook, and her dream to start a catering business that hired women ex-offenders began to evolve.
Re-entry into the job market can be the first and deciding hurdle to negotiate following release from incarceration, and especially in a pandemic economy when so many people are unexpectedly out of a job and looking for work.
Like so many restaurants having to find new ways to connect with customers, Just Soul Catering also found its purpose in not only selling food but in providing love and support to first responders and the community. A GoFundme page has helped to make this possible, but the love behind the idea keeps it growing.
Not only businesses are scrambling to find new ways of connecting. The pandemic has taught us many things we may not have realized so clearly before. One of these is about the strength and calm we have given and received from hugs and even just handshakes. It is now more evident as we find ourselves six feet apart and missing “closeness.” Lack of closeness can be especially hard for those who live alone.
But, ”love will find a way,” Emotional closeness must be discovered in a new way. For some, like Sharon, it is making food and serving it, with love. For some it is making phone calls or writing and texting. For some it is making and fixing things for others. For some, it is just doing our job, with love, knowing that unseen others depend on us for their needs. Not only young people are finding a way to go back to school this week. We are all going back to school to understand the most basic of human lessons: the art of finding ways to connect and give love as we can. It is “just soul.”