This week past week, Old First hosted nearly three dozen people who were in Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention, as well as the actions and awareness raising events that occurred in conjunction with the DNC. Although there were more than we usually host overnight, they only stayed an average of 3 nights with us.
They were referred to us by the Democratic National Convention Action Committee. Some were organizers from Food and Water Watch, most were pro-Bernie activists, and there was a journalist from London. For the most part, they were gracious and respectful of each other and our campus. They chatted together, cooked together, washed clothes for each other.
When one young woman came back from the day’s activities with a painful ankle, one made an ice pack, another started arranging transportation to the emergency room while others did their best to help her feel more comfortable – she did, in fact, break a bone in her leg.
Tim R., assisted by Clark and John O. did a remarkable job of checking people in and out, tracking payments and making sure their needs were met. Sometimes that meant listening to them for what seemed like hours as they poured out their troubles. Sometimes it meant washing up after breakfast when everyone left for the day. Sometimes it meant de-escalating after a couple of tired people infringed on each other’s space in the dark.
The evaluations we received were very positive. Our guests were all grateful for the space and the welcoming atmosphere they found here. Several guests commented that without our space, they would not have been able to participate as they did in our political process. We were surprised at how much time it took staffwise, listening to folks, keeping up after their comings and goings and helping them to clean up after themselves. We hope that they and we were able to recognize God at work in and through this week of sharing space and hosting folks on a journey.