Saturday, December 1, 2018

The Least of Those Among You


In as much as you have done for the least of those among you, you have also done for me.  - Jesus Christ 


I'm not sure if I'm having an epiphany, or if I'm just becoming a cynical old curmudgeon, but I've been having doubts lately about all the hoopla in our domestic industry surrounding the topic of "service heart."  I mean, I'm just not sure if I believe it. 

Maybe. But I don't know.



Because today I realized how easy it is to deliver gracious service on a private estate. And that's because it's not much of a stretch to be polite to someone who's signing your paychecks. And maybe that's enough; maybe there doesn't need to be any other qualifier, because those persons who can afford to hire domestic staff would never expect charity from them, and so, their staff would never really be tested otherwise. 



But what if, just maybe, candidates for a domestic position could be assessed without the distractions of their luxury work environments and high salaries?  Would that bring us closer to knowing who has that so-called "service heart"? 

I haven't had the need to hire a new staff member in quite some time, but if I was looking again, I'm not so sure I'd be trotting down the same path next time that most employers and their domestic agencies have always gone; that of looking for the ubiquitous "three to five years of experience," or a certificate from a household manager or butler school, or if the toilet they've been scrubbing has been pooped in by a celebrity. Because I think that checking off each of those items, just like graciously serving a martini to someone who's paying them 100,000 bucks, is pretty easy stuff.  

I think the real qualifier for "heart" might be this: a capacity for serving someone who can do absolutely nothing for them in return. 

Maybe that would be someone who they've stepped over on the sidewalk on the way to a nightclub, or maybe it's someone who, on a night when the winter temperatures dropped well below freezing, was seen huddled in a midtown bank doorway and uncontrollably shivering. Or maybe it was someone who bumped up against them on the C-train, you know, someone who's missing an arm - and is having to hold up his soiled pants with the other.


Because those would be the same people they'd have the opportunity to meet after arriving at 8:00AM on a Saturday morning at The Meatloaf Kitchen on the lower east side, and to serve them a meal - maybe the only meal for them this week that wasn't coming from a garbage can in Times Square. 

Because they'd have the chance to approach each one of these people and look them directly in the eye to ask them how they'd like their coffee, while holding a tray for them and pouring it into their cup. To let each of them know by the look in their eyes that yes, they know they are the forgotten ones, and they know that right after this meal they'll have to go back to the very same hell from where they just came, and yet, for just a little bit this morning, for just a few minutes, anyway, they'll each be noticed by someone else as a human being, they'll each be noticed by someone else as existing in this world, and they'll each have the same dignity and respect that is deserved by everyone else.

And they will be served.

*******

Yes, I'm sure of it now. 

That's exactly what I'd be looking for in a domestic staff candidate ~ if I was looking to find that "service heart."


*******


Where?

Cardinal Spellman Center
137 East 2nd Street
Between First Avenue and Avenue A
New York, NY

When?

Every Saturday
  • Morning shift – 8 a.m. to Noon
  • Afternoon shift – 11:50 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Volunteers can sign up to work either one or both shifts.

For the morning shift, duties include helping to prepare the meal, setting up the room, and serving a breakfast of pastries, coffee and fruit to our early arriving guests.

For our afternoon shift, duties include greeting guests, serving food, bussing tables, dishwashing, and cleaning up.

When you arrive, you will be assigned a task to work alongside one of our many experienced volunteers who will provide directions and answer any questions.

I am interested in volunteering. What do I do?


Please call 347-850-2230 or email our Volunteer Coordinator so that we can schedule a time for you to volunteer.





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