The meaning of the word “hospitality” is the love of the stranger. One of the signs in the Collegium Café reads, “Enter as strangers, leave as friends” because we believe, and daily seek to practice, the healing power of relationships that are built in this place of welcome. The smiling faces, hot coffee and delicious food are the backdrop every day for this “café with a purpose.”
But with the onset of the pandemic, our café had to temporarily close in March and the staff were left wondering how to continue this important work and learn to love from the appropriate distance that is needed to protect our community at Tierra Vida. They looked around at what they had. First, we partnered with the Jubilee Foundation to distribute the perishable foods we would not be able to use to families in the community. But Shaunee Hooper, Cristy Gomez and Erykah Calvados kept thinking of what more could be done. They knew other foods we had in the freezer were not going to last either, but it didn’t seem like much. Then Erykah remembered the story in 2 Kings in the Bible where just a bit of food was made to stretch to feed many. Could that happen here?
And it did. With the ingredients on hand the staff made soup – both pozole and taco soup. Those pots of soup stretched to serve some 200 people in the community on a cold rainy day. Families got soup in to-go cups as kids picked up lunch from the Pasco School District in front of the Collegium building. Word went out on social media and more folks stopped by the drive through. And one community member gathered cups of soup for a group of young people he works with in the juvenile detention program. Love was distributed, in cups of soup. Shaunee, the café manager, summed it up this way, “just doing something with a purpose and bringing a smile to people’s faces is what God asks us all to do.”