“220…216…214….Where is 212?” I asked myself out loud. I had one delivery left, but the houses and numbers seemed to stop and then disappear. Where was 212?
I pulled over into a parking lot to regroup. The dry cleaners attached to the lot looked abandoned, but as I took in my surroundings, I was surprised to realize 8 other cars were parked nearby.
Suddenly, a man popped out of one of the cars and called out to me: “You with Arm In Arm?”
I stopped and rolled down my window. “Yes, I am. How did you know?”
“I’m Darryl. I’m the one who called.” The man spoke quietly, calmly, and with poise. It was as if I had stopped a good samaritan for directions.
I was still a little mystified. Who really was this person who emerged from seemingly nowhere? How did he know I would come here? Where did he live? I looked down at the sheet of names on my delivery route. Sure enough, there was Darryl’s name! But how had I ended up here in this spot?
Darryl saw the confusion cross my face, and simply added, “They told me they thought they could find a place for me to stay tomorrow temporarily, at a hotel.”
As he spoke, a picture of this very real struggle began to fall into place. Darryl—and the others parked in this abandoned lot—were living out of their cars.
Darryl had figured if he gave 212 as the street address, the person delivering food might reach a dead end and pull into that abandoned lot. It was a gamble. But it was one that had paid off. Because sure enough, here I was, right where I was needed.
I placed the grocery bags on the pock-marked concrete and backed away to create some social distance. Darryl retrieved the bags. This was Darryl’s “porch,” and this delivery was a very welcome one. Then he smiled and said to me words really meant for so many others who made this delivery possible: “Thank you!”
I jumped back into my car and watched as Darryl climbed into his. Only I drove off.
There are many like Darryl in our community right now facing hardships that seem to have no end in sight. Thank you for providing for the Darryls we meet. In these difficult times, we are lucky to have you in our corner making Darryl’s load just a little bit lighter.
Thank you and stay safe,
P.S. If you can—
-volunteer, please call Shariq at 609-396-9355 x21 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
-bring food to our Princeton pantry, please call Cecelia at 609-921-2135 to arrange a drop-off date and time.