Mornings at Martin’s

Over the past two months Cam and I have created a new tradition at LuckyBird.  Every Tuesday morning we wake up around 5, walk over to Martin de Porres House of Hospitality, help out for a few hours, and are back in the office by 8:30.

I’m embarrassed to admit, but Cam had been helping at Martin’s for about six months before I started.  Multiple times he urged me to go with him, but I never went, justifying it by telling myself that “ill give back after I make it big, but right now I have a lot of work to do”.  I eventually broke through that BS paradigm and started helping out.  But this post isn’t about limiting beliefs and the excuses we come up with that hold us back from delivering value to the world.  This post is about abundance.

Martin’s is a soup kitchen that serves brunch on Sundays and hot breakfast and lunch during the week.  It’s mission is to “serve in the spirit of compassion, understanding, and love,” meaning that everyone who comes to Martin’s is welcomed as a guest, and treated as such.

Martin’s is based on gentle personalism, or that “all persons have dignity; and all persons have the right to be respected.   Each person who comes to Martin’s is a guest and is to be treated as such.   Eating is a right, not a privilege, and that feeding the hungry is a matter of justice, not of charity.”  Martin’s lives this every single day.

In the beginning of the month, Martin’s is relatively calm, but by the end of the month patronage swells with people living paycheck-to-paycheck who can’t afford to buy food.  On these busy shifts the mood tenses and sometimes tempers flair.  It doesn’t seem like we will have enough food for everyone, but somehow loaves of bread keep appearing, oranges are magically sliced, and oatmeal stuffed with fresh fruit never runs out.  There is so much food that even after everyone has had seconds, thirds, and fourths, Martin’s gives out doggie bags so that patrons can take a snack on the go.

The first time I experienced the power of abundance was while working at Martin’s on a busy day.  We had just finished serving the morning rush and most of the patrons had a smile on their face, relaxing after a good meal.  The calm in the room contrasted so dramatically with the tension experienced minutes prior, it didn’t feel like the same place.  Of course the only real difference was that people had food in their belly, and that they no longer worried about getting enough.  Abundance felt good.

I’m thankful that helping out at Martin’s has become a LuckyBird tradition and I  look forward to sharing it with our future employees.  Not because they should feel thankful or motivated by what they see (if you work in tech you should already know you’re blessed), but because experiencing abundance first hand is a pretty incredible experience.

Have you thought about donating some of your time to improve the community around you?  Stop making up excuses and find a great opportunity here.

If you live in SF and want to experience Martin’s on your own, set up a time to volunteer here.

See you next Tuesday!

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