Ross Anthony, M.Ed. (A Los Angeles Creative)
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¤ 2012 ¤

Details of the Day (March-ish 2012)

This year, whew. Chili4Homeless has been full of challenges. On a particularly cold day, I headed to the grocery store to purchase ingredients. But along the way, Chili's throttle cable snapped. Vrrrrrumumum putt putt putt putt. I pushed her for a few blocks off the main street, then tried idling in gear for another block. (It's hard to keep balance that slow!) Then I stopped being afraid of the frayed wire and gripped it as hard as I could between my thumb and forefinger -- and pulled! And Vrrrrrrrrrrm the remaining few blocks were much easier. I ordered the cable online (it arrived in just 2 days!), screwed it on in an hour or so, then started cookin'!

Anyway, by the time we (my gf joined me on her motorcycle) got out, the weather had turned more pleasant. Is it wrong of me to prefer a brisk, cold day to deliver warm chili? Well, despite the sun, there was a bit of a cool breeze. And I did have to wear my jacket. That has to count for something. And geographically speaking, we ended up cruising Chili around an area in which I really didn't know where homeless folks hung out. Thankfully, the picking's were slim, and I had to be open-minded regarding the definition of the word "homeless."

First fellow was laying belly-down on the grass by a bus stop, munchin' on a bean burrito. "I've got some extra chili, want some?" I thought he'd refuse, but he didn't.

Cruising on Chili, I spotted a lady pushing a shopping cart down the main drag. She took a cup for herself and another for her roommate (guess that just makes her low income and not homeless).

Four scruffy looking gents populated a park bench. "I've got some free food, want some?" They laughed, "We just ate, try the corner over there."

At the corner of the park, in the baseball stands three out-of-place sorts were half watching a softball game. They were happy to receive the gift of chili.

Then there was Dan in the van with cats. Could that be a follow up song to "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds?" I don't know, but DVC is a lot less controversial. He was happy for the Chili and a friend of his as well.

Oh, I forgot to mention that my brilliant idea to use Chinese take-out boxes as a delivery technique was not so brilliant. The boxes virtually melted away with the heat. Messy. Messy. But, I suppose the good news was that finding the homeless was actually difficult. It could just be the hour, could be the area, could be me. Happily, none of them looked underfed. Where are the starving in the US?

Well, at the end of the day, I had more chili than homeless, so I finished the rest with my gf and decided to run a Chili4homeless 2012 Part B.

Chili4homeless 2012 Part B.

September. (I was so hoping to do this before summer, but, well, this and that, and yeah, you're right, I have no excuse. The important thing is… I did it! Right?)

This time I probably used too much pasta in the recipe. Still good, but too much noodle. (I used "salad macaroni.) However, I solved some transport and dispensing problems by using a box designed for something similar. (See photo) Got it at my local grocer. And while I'm trying to get away from using Styrofoam for green reasons, I had some cups left over from 2011 Chili4homeless. So, I used some of those. When those are used up, then I'll use paper cups. The box could fit 12 filled cups. (I cut a few cardboard squares so I could stack the cups 2-up.) However, for the first time with this method, I decided on just using 7. Which turned out perfect.

The first fellow I met was walking down the avenue. I said, "I've got some free food, you want some?" He said, "Sure!" and accented that with a friendly smile. "You like chili?" I asked. "Sure!" he reprised. I flipped the top of chili's little trunk and dispensed the cup and a spoon -- worked great! "Mind if I shoot a photo for the folks who sponsored the chili?" He fixed his hat, "Not at all, but my face might break your camera." I shot the photo (camera worked fine) then asked how the chili tasted. "Really good" he answered. "I made it myself!" I said proudly. And as I road away, I thought, he didn't get my name, and I didn't get his. He didn't know who I was and I didn't know he was. We were just two guys who met in the universe. One who made chili and the other who appreciated it. I think that's pretty cool. What do you think?

Next, I returned to the location where people lived in their vehicles. Alongside a city park a row of old sun-faded cars, vans, and even a few beaten RV's snuggled the curb. "I got some free food." I shouted into one of them. "Yeah? What kind?" a voice grumbled back. "Chili." After a little rumbling a man emerged at the door, "Chili? Cool." He shouted at the other vehicles, "Hey Paul!" And then helped himself to the cup. Three other vehicular-residents stepped up to Chili and me and enjoyed a cup of chili each. A young teen, maybe a student, happed by. He saw the little crowd around me and Chili and stepped onto the grass to see what was going on. "Want some chili?" I said. "Sure." He said. Probably he wasn't homeless, but in any case, his tummy walked away happier.

Thanks again to all of you who helped support this event (both Part A and Part B) with a straight donation or by purchasing my book "Zen Repair and the Art of Riding Chili."

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© 2012 photos, text, art, music copyright Ross Anthony. Thank you to all those who have participated in chil4homeless! (My Readers! My Friends! My Family! Misc. Strangers! Liem, Kocanda, Galati, Rand, Keszek, and many many more!

Last Modified: Wednesday, 26-Mar-2014 21:50:40 PDT