The following is a letter from a volunteer describing his experience with Dinner with Love.
My name is Larry Augustus and last night my youngest son, Aaron, and a young man that lived with us last year, DaQuan, participated in the “Dinner with Love” food delivery program held at St. Lukes. I have to say that I was not in the best of moods and not in the true spirit of what we were doing. We were late getting to the church and I can’t stand being late. We received our directions and contact name and phone number.
To get the boys involved, I asked Aaron to call our contact as soon as we left the church as our destination was very close. He did, but the person on the other end said we had the wrong number. I checked to make sure he had dialed correctly, which made him mad, and he had in fact called the right number. I decided to go to the house anyway. Once we arrived we took the box to the front door. I have to say I was surprised because the home was quite nice with newer model cars in the driveway. DaQuan rang the door bell and someone came to a side window and peaked out. We told her that we were delivering a meal and to our surprise she said she had no idea what we were talking about and left the window. Obviously something was wrong. I checked the address and it was correct based on our directions. The boys were becoming a little antsy and suggested we just leave the meal on the porch. I didn’t want the hard work and effort that was put into making this meal possible to go to waste. I decided to call Paul Ravencraft and see if he had any suggestions. Paul asked us to try to identify someone else to give the meal or else it would go to waste. We discussed it among ourselves and were having a difficult time because we were concerned that it might be awkward to deliver a meal to someone that we knew.
I was on Broadway Extension by now and ran into terrible traffic due to a wreck. I must say that we were losing sight of our mission. I negotiated the traffic and turned on Wilshire heading west. I knew of a neighborhood where many needy people live and so immediately turned north. DaQuan was familiar with this area and without hesitation he said we should not be in this neighborhood at night. I said it would be fine and went a couple of blocks and took a left turn. I told the boys that we should look for a house with Christmas lights because that suggests that they are in the spirit of the season. We picked a house and approached the front door. I really had no idea what I was going to say. An elderly gentleman answered the door and I said it was his lucky day. I said his home was so beautifully decorated and we had picked his house for spreading Christmas cheer. What he said floored us all. After introductions, Bill told had he just lost his wife two weeks ago and he had no idea what he was going to do for Christmas. He was very moved and started to break down. We offered our condolences for his loss and visited for a while. As we left I could tell that what we had done was so much more than give someone a meal. Bill needed to know that someone cared and I could truly feel his appreciation. We went from losing sight of our mission to understanding what Christmas is all about.
My car was silent for sometime on the way home, but once the silence was broken so many things were said. Aaron commented that we had just done a really good deed, but that we were as blessed if not more by what had happened tonight. We have decided to drop in on Bill periodically to check on him. The old saying “things turn out for the best” could never be more true.