Single flower in hands

Newsletter: It’s time for kindness to go viral

Single flower in hands

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I found myself sitting next to the speaker with the bottom of my shoes soaked in melted ice and beer. It had been a moment reminiscent of 1984 when I decided to host my dorm’s first party after moving from Southern to Northern California.
I believed that the students who lived on my dorm floor needed a sense of purpose and connecting points with others who had come from all over the US to this place where classes were taught by nuns wearing habits.

This was my job, the girl from LA with too many pairs of open-toed shoes, to liven this place up. Off I went to the corner store to buy 6-packs of Bartels and Jaymes. I was going to show these folks how to play a mean game of “Quarters,” the best ice breaker I knew of.

It was epic. People began peeking into my open dorm room to then sit cross-legged on the floor and bounce the shiny quarter deep into the red cup. I became the champion, making friends, and creating what I needed the most: my community.

I got up off of the soggy speaker and noticed five girls in a circle throwing their heads back laughing and hugging. It was my daughter’s graduation party in Chico and it reminded me of those bittersweet feelings of being in between.

After the intimate graduation ceremony of 650 students, I noticed two middle-aged men walking in front of us as we hurried to catch up with our daughter, her cap and gown flapping with her gait.

They were pulling Igloo coolers full of something quenching and wearing their “Chico Dads” baseball caps snapped backwards, each of them carrying a red solo cup.

I imagined their friendship had begun on a dorm room floor over a game and I could see their connection after all of these years.

My daughter and her friends were all going their separate ways to “get on with their lives” in finance, teaching, architecture and “I don’t know yet.”

This deep sense of belonging to and being supported by others reminds me of Culinary Angels volunteer family whom create the fabric of our amazing organization. People brought together by a cause, a sense of purpose, and being understood by others.

Cheers to the many who graduated from college this year and to their parents whom without a doubt have a red solo cup tucked deep in the back of a cupboard somewhere. We see you.

In gratitude,
Lisa McNaney
Founder, Executive Director