Our homeless population in New Orleans has always been a topic of controversy. What causes these people to be homeless? Why don’t they help themselves? What are their stories? Are they scamming? Are they faking? Are they mentally ill? Why doesn’t the city just DO something about it?
**Read more at https://nolabubble.com/homeless-for-the-holidays/
Often, when I hear, “Something has to be done!” I feel an undertone that makes me feel like the “problem” of homelessness is just something we’d rather not see. My Uptown neighborhood app, Nextdoor, is full of comments, discussing the homeless like stray dogs.
“Just quit feeding them and they’ll go away.”
Well… I don’t have any answers. I don’t know who is faking, who is scamming, who is mentally ill, or who is just plain hurting and poor.
It’s not my job to figure that out – it’s too big. There are too many layers.
But I know this: NO ONE wants to spend the holidays under an interstate overpass. NO ONE wants to huddle beneath the concrete pillars against the wind and rain and cold. NO ONE deserves to have all their earthly possessions confiscated by a caravan of police and city workers, doing a “sweep” before any big event. Tourism tops humanity – every time.
Out of sight, out of mind.
Here is what Marianne Williamson once said in a lecture, and it has always stayed with me: We do not need to worry about what happens AFTER we give. If we give money; yes, they might buy alcohol or drugs. If we give food; true, we may enable a homeless person to remain on the street one more day, just postponing the solution. If we give warmth and clothing, we may encourage the recipient to delay seeking help. BUT… when we see a movie, do we worry about the money we spend being spent in the wrong ways by the Hollywood Stars? Drugs? Parties? Excess of all kinds? When we attend a concert, do we wonder if the performer is strung out? Not spending his (our) money wisely?
No. We give money for all kinds of things for one simple reason: It gives us pleasure. We love the music. We love the film. We love the lecture. We love the experience. IT MAKES US FEEL GOOD.
So. There it is. It’s the GIVING that matters. It’s what makes us human. It’s what makes the world a better place – and it’s a blessing to US to know that we’ve sacrificed something to give to someone else. It’s the simple matter of the golden rule.
With all that in mind, we, and many friends around the neighborhood and school are going to do what we can during the holidays to help the homeless have a little joy. We will be creating Blessing Bags to distribute, and here is the list of items in each bag; which we hope you will pass along and spread the joy of the season far and wide.
(I found many of these things on Amazon and Overstock in bulk at unbelievably cheap prices. For less than $250, we have enough of each of these items to create 50 complete bags).
I gave up a new pair of jeans. Talk about making you think…
This makes me much happier, proving that the one who gives receives more than the one who is given to.
In groups, each person could purchase in bulk just one of the items, and gather together to make the Blessing Bags as a community.
** I will follow with some pictures once all this arrives and we create the gift packages. My plan is to lay the soft blanket on the ground, folded in half, then place all the things on the blanket. Pull the corners to the center, and wrap a big bow (Christmas scarf) around it to contain everything.
I don’t just want to give the stuff. I want to give a cheerful package, gift-wrapped, that makes someone feel special and loved.
Throughout the holidays, I’ll be making batches of these and bringing them (hot) to as many homeless people as we can. SO easy, and I love this idea of serving a hot meal in a way I can actually do, and not just talk about.
Let the holidays begin, friends. And let us bring joy to ourselves by giving to others.
Here’s the scene at our house… Thanksgiving dinner, and it’s 2pm. The turkey is STILL not done. We have miscalculated. The natives are getting restless, but we don’t want to fill up before the big dinner.
So… I like to have some snacks around to keep everyone busy until we’re ready to serve.
This isn’t just Thanksgiving. It’s Christmas, it’s cookouts, it’s game day… you can make these beautiful snacks ahead of time and enjoy the event yourself – not get stuck in the kitchen, missing all the fun!
Lemon ice box pie is the easiest thing in the world. I added an Oreo crust to make it interesting, and it’s always a hit. Freezes perfectly. Just thaw a few hours before serving… a beautiful pie with a bold lemon kick… perfect for desert – any time!
You can’t beat meatballs for quick-and-easy. NOT when you make them… making good meatballs takes time. But when you make them, make about 5 pounds worth, brown them, and freeze in 1 lb containers, ready for any time and any sauce or gravy.
I make them like this, per 5 lbs ground beef: 4 eggs, 1.5 cups plain or Italian bread crumbs, 1 pack Lipton onion soup mix, 2 tbsp fresh, chopped parsley, 2 tbsp oregano, 1 tbsp basil and 1 tbsp garlic salt. Mix well in a bowl. Roll into 2″ balls and brown in skillet with a bit of olive oil or vegetable oil.
Put in ziplock bags holding about 1 pound of meatballs in each bag. Freeze until ready to use.
When you’re ready to serve, submerge meatballs in gravy or red gravy. Cook on stove top on low heat for 45 minutes.
Also great in the crock pot with barbecue sauce for game day snacks.
These are some of my go-to freezer treats that keep us ready for anything!
Game Day is coming up… this Sunday, Saints vs. Atlanta.
Not a home in New Orleans will be unaware of this important event. Even my 83-year-old Mom will be tuned in, and we’ve got to do all the good-luck rituals to insure a win.
Normally, our Saints vs Falcons favorite is our own “Dirty Birds” recipe – a simple baked Cornish hen, filled with dirty rice…
Dirty Birds taste great with nearly any side dish, finger food or snack – and they’re the perfect size for game day snacking – or lunch!
This weekend, there will be a large crowd, so I’m revising the recipe to make a Dirty Bird Stuffed Peppers.
Here’s the recipe, because EVERYONE should eat a Dirty Bird this Sunday!
Saute 2lbs ground sausage
Make 2 boxes Zatarain’s Dirty Rice, adding sausage and all the grease (instead of oil, as the package says).
Cook only 1/2 the time on the box.
Brown 2 lbs chicken breasts and cut into bite-sized pieces.
Can of black beans.
Cut red and yellow peppers in half, length-wise. Boil 4-5 minutes.
Stuff the red peppers with rice, sausage, and chicken.
Stuff the yellow peppers with rice, sausage, chicken and black beans.
Yellow peppers should look like black and gold. Red peppers should look like red and black and white – team colors on fire!
Place in glass pan with 1/8″ water, cover with tin foil. Bake 30-35 minutes.
Eat those Dirty Birds for lunch, Saints fans!