Fred L.

Why did you get involved with Martha’s Table originally, what made you want to volunteer and why here?

I got involved because I was doing similar work a number of years ago through my church in Indianapolis. Once we moved here, for whatever reason I got out of the habit. After years of procrastination, I finally began to research what institutions were doing in DC for the homeless. What motivated me was the fact that, in my walk to and from Metro to the office, or anywhere in downtown DC, the number of homeless or, at least, needy people I passed was striking. After researching places, I was struck by the fact that McKenna’s Wagon was the only service of its kind in DC that went out every day to take food to the needy. It was 10 minutes from my office and fit perfectly into what I was looking for.  After doing the driver training and experiencing serving on the vans, I was hooked.

Is there a moment that stands out in your mind about your volunteer experience, either on the van, with another volunteer, or with our staff?

The most impactful thing that happened to me was on Memorial Day of 2010. My wife joined me that day to serve on the van I was driving. It was the end of the month, so there was a huge crowd. At the second stop, the line was very long. I was serving sandwiches and desserts from the side of the van. When I looked up, I saw a grandmother at the standing beside the van with three grandchildren whose oldest was maybe 4 or 5 years old. The people in line had moved them to the front to get fed first. The look of sadness in the children’s eyes broke our hearts. We loaded them up with food and saw their eyes brighten, ever so slightly. That family really struck me. What was their story? How did they get to this point? What were they doing on the other days? Though these questions will likely never be answered, I know that on that day, those kids went away with a hot cup of hearty soup and enough sandwiches to get them through a couple of days. It made me realize how blessed we are and how important McKenna’s Wagon is to the people they serve. It may be one of the few things that some folks can count on in their life. I’m blessed to be a part of it.