Thursday, July 14, 2011

Street Love, Food Love, KW Is Awesome...

I was already a blog post behind before last night came along. Now after the events of last night and today... this might be a long one.

Tuesday night, I was out with my street ministry team and a man named Wally came running up to us. Wally is a long time street person and has a special connection with many members of our team, including me, because he is just so darn sweet and grateful for all the little things. Wally is also a pretty incredible musician.

So anyway, Wally comes running up and he's carrying a large case with him. Our team leader, George, immediately recognizes that it is Wally's accordion that he has finally gotten out of pawn. Wally motions to our little coolers on wheels and asks if we have a spare frame around that he can use to pull his accordion because it is so heavy. Well we don't, but I do have one of those fabric shopping carts from Zehrs and so I tell Wally that after I take the apples out of it, it's all his.

Fast forward 2 hours later and we're just about done for the night. I turn to George and gasp, "my keys were in that cart." Prayers from team members and racing hearts, we head towards downtown to the place that Wally usually sleeps. He's not there. We find some other people who tell us where he may be BUT he might be in something of an awkward/bad situation right now. George and I leave the team and head off. Up a block we see a figure crossing the road, the unmistakable gait of Wally. We break into a run to catch up. Wally sees us and says "YOU! I've got your keys!" Then he took us into a small restaurant/bar and returns my keys that are my entryway into everything I do.

Thank you Wally, for loving me, for being kind and keeping my keys safe.


Last night was the second pitch meeting for the KW Awesome Foundation. In a nutshell, some generous people pledge $100 each to reward ideas that will make our community more awesome. The winner gets $1000 to put towards their idea and EVERYONE walks away with contacts and ideas on how to make THEIR awesome idea come to life.

I spoke about FoodLove, although saying "spoke" makes it sound like I had an impressive speech that knocked every one's socks off. What actually happened was I showed up with only a giant bag of trail mix bars and FoodLove flyers. My "speaking" was more like barely stumbling through some heartfelt words that only begin to describe how incredibly awesome FoodLove actually is. My legs were shaking uncontrollably, I thought I was gonna puke or pass out and I had tears in my eyes the entire time. If you've seen my earlier post on overcoming my social anxiety you may understand why I was so nervous and scared. This was a huge step for me.

At the end of the night, after some great pitches on a giant watergun fight, rockets, needlework, neighborhood greening competitions, a young dancers dream of getting to LA to dance and a KW version of Dear Photograph, I won the $1000. I swear it, me, knocky-knees-about-to-barf-cries-all-the-time Melissa won $1000 to help expand my FoodLove program!!! This is AMAZING and WONDERFUL and AWESOME! I received so many kind words of support, hugs and MANY MANY offers to bake for the upcoming Aug 21 FoodLove hospital trip.

I am WAY beyond grateful and humbled that so many people believe that what I do is a great enough idea that they want to be a part of it. I am so thankful that there are folks out there who are willing to part with their hard earned money to make things like FoodLove and bubble fights and dancing dreams come true. The trustees of the KW Awesome Foundation are truly amazing people.

I received over 75 messages of support through Twitter, a bunch of phone calls and so many emails I've barely begun to wade through them. One such email has offered me, "a 1 year membership to Toastmasters, to be mentored by professional speakers, to learn how to speak in front of a crowd because I recognize that you have an amazing way with words and a very big and genuine heart that needs to be shared with the world." I don't know if I feel the same way but thank you, email writer, for loving and believing in a girl that you've never met; YOU are what makes KW so awesome.

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