Casa Alitas is being put through the wringer

Dear Feastlings,

We rely on the Pima County Health Department, absolutely.  We follow their COVID guidelines, we count on them to help keep us and our guests safe, and we rely on them to help us educate the less experienced members of our staff.  And I don’t envy them their job for one minute.  Last night, I got a couple of emails from people affiliated with Casa Alitas, explaining that their most recent health inspection required them to immediately stop serving cold prepared foods (i.e., they can’t make a salad and serve it to the migrants coming through their welcome center, and they can’t serve cookies that have been baked at home by a volunteer, and so on) and hot prepared foods as well (i.e., even if the food is prepared in an inspected kitchen like ours here at Feast, they can’t use their kitchen, which isn’t registered with the Health Department, to heat up something that’s been prepared in an okayed commercial kitchen.)  And so, with us still trying to figure out logistics to try and get meals to the students at Youth on Their Own, which is another story altogether, we’re bringing meals on Friday, October 15, to 125 or so people at the Welcome Center for their immediate consumption, since to put it in the refrigerator and heat it up later won’t pass inspection.

Lest it sound like I think the Health Department is in the wrong here, I’m not.  I fully understand that they’re doing their level best to keep people safe.  That said, Casa Alitas basically has only a few days to completely reinvent the way they feed 80 or 100 people three meals a day, and I remember with painful acuity the fear and stress associated with having to completely reinvent ourselves within a couple of days on March 17th, 2020.  It’s overwhelming.

So we’re bringing meals on Friday, which on the one hand is 125 meals, but on the other hand, it’s one meal, one day, for a place that serves scores of people every day, and who have days and weeks of mad scramble in front of them.  We are, as we have been throughout the pandemic, gratefully accepting donations toward feeding migrants who are getting a night of sleep indoors rather than sleeping in the desert or under a bridge, and for every four meals donated, we’ll donate a fifth.

Here’s a link to Casa Alitas, which you’ve likely seen before, but it behooves us all to remember in a crazy couple of years like we’ve been through that Chance, or Fate, or Destiny, or whatever you name it, can pull the rug out from under as all at any time, and our fortunes can change, like they have for these people.  So why not treat them the way we’d want to be treated should it ever happen to us?  That Golden Rule is a pretty good one, as rules go.

You can donate over the phone by calling 326-9363, or mail or drop off a check made out to Feast with the words “food donation” in the memo line, and we’ll apply it to our food run to Casa Alitas, where we’ll be headed more than once in the near future, until they can get settled into something more permanent.  We’d love to help, and we speculate you would too.

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