The Central Union Mission recently hosted its second annual Heart & Sole event at Union Market in D.C. as part of a fundraising effort to provide 1 million meals for those hungry, hurting and in need of housing during the winter months.
And while Dock5 of the market was filled Thursday, Oct. 27 with heavy-hitters and pretty people poised to cut checks as they nibbled exquisite foods prepared by talented chefs, for one group of men, the moment was all about second chances and a welcomed revival.
“I was going down the wrong path, I was selling drugs and hanging out with the wrong people,” said Carl Terry, a graduate of the Mission Muffins Ready2Succeed job-training program, as he inspected an assortment of muffins that were quickly snatched up by guests.
“Today I am in the best position that I have ever been in my whole life,” he said.
David Treadwell, executive director of the Mission, said the event was important for several reasons.
“First of all jobs, putting men back to work,” he said. “But for this event we are focused on food, we are trying to provide the funds for a million meals to meet the needs of the city this winter.
“There are still 12,000 people on any given night that are either homeless, in a shelter or somewhere other than a home of their own,” Treadwell said. “When there are thousands are people out there, the needs are great. Even though some have a place to live they still need assistance beyond what they get from the government.”
Food for the event — “Heart & Sole: An Evening With Chef Rock Harper Plus Friends” — was provided by local and national chefs and caterers serving a wide variety of dishes to attendees, many of whom also brought shoes to donate to the cause.
“The Central Union Mission has been around for more than 130 years, providing food, clothing and care for Washington D.C.’s most vulnerable population,” said Deborah Chambers, director of strategic partnerships and community engagement for the Mission. “We have a homeless shelter, we serve 170 men every day, plus 2,000 families a month through our food distribution in six parts of the city.”
Nicole Thomas, a chef who came to the event with her daughter and husband, former Washington Wizards forward Etan Thomas, had her entire family pitching in, cooking and serving.
“It is just a privilege to be able to help,” she said.
As he put the finishing touches on a jerk salmon salad, Chef Fred Johnson, owner of Effie’s Caters and Special events, said, “We are doing this for a great cause, we are doing this for the mission, for the guys who are out there and can’t do it for themselves. This is serving up good food for a great cause.”