Feeding People – on Many Levels

Once a month, members of the Sathya Sai Center of Albuquerque, New Mexico, shop, prepare and serve a love-filled meal to 150 homeless men, women and children at Project Share. We revived this service project in 2010 at Project Share, having had a past history with them in the late 90’s, preparing and serving food then as well.  Since we re-adopted the project in 2010, we have taken our turn each month to prepare a meal with about ten to twelve of our center members serving the following vegetarian menu:

  • Cheese Enchilada
  • Vegetable Casserole
  • Cilantro Butter Seasoned Rice
  • Mixed Vegetables
  • Flour Tortillas
  • Fresh Garden Salad
  • Dessert and
  • Divine Love.

We begin two days before the feeding by soaking 32 cups of pinto beans, which become the 80 cups of cooked refried beans needed for the cheese enchilada casseroles. The rest of the shopping, the bulk of it, takes place on the day of the serving, and then four or five members arrive at the serving site at 1:00 pm, where together we prepare the menu for the day.

These lovely preparations and encounters create an air of joy, simplicity and Love. Yes!  We enjoy and have fun with every step of this process, and look forward to the opportunity to serve Sathya Sai Baba in human forms. This humble Project Share effort serves everyone who walks over their threshold, i.e. homeless individuals and families, drug addicts, (alcohol  and other substances) and other less fortunate individuals and families living in the Section 8 housing close by. Some smell really bad, not having the opportunity to wash themselves. Mentally disturbed persons are welcome as well. No one is ever excluded, except if there is an outbreak of violence or unacceptable/unpredictable behavior occurs. Even then, there is a chance for reconciliation and food.

The Most Important Ingredient – LOVE

The feeding site is also a place where those assigned to do community service can come and help serve. Several men and women join us because the courts told them they had to be there. We instruct them very lovingly, with great care, and we always remind them to remember the most important ingredient: LOVE. We suggest to them that they think of the person they love the most and imagine they are preparing this food for that person. When we tell them this, something comes alive within, and they suddenly begin preparing the food as though it were the most important thing they have ever done. It is such a sacred moment, and their inner light shines bright!

Personal Anecdotes

While serving the meal, I have experienced people calling me an “angel.” They ask where we are from and thank us over and over. As Sathya Sai Baba reminds us all the time that He is God in these moments of serving, I practice remembering Who I Am and Who I Am serving – God Incarnate. What blessing and grace I feel when I have the opportunity to give and serve others.

One young woman came up to me after finishing her meal. “Your group seems like such a family,” she said. “I don’t have a family. I sleep under a bridge.” When I heard her words, I was moved to tears and felt such love for her. I prayed for her and for all those who struggle, with all my heart, that they may be filled with food and love and peace, all the time, everywhere.

Another volunteer shared, “This past winter my grandsons Porter and Ry were helping serve as well. They too have enjoyed this opportunity. Porter was stunned that a child in line was someone who went to his school and was in his classroom.  It was hard and sad for him to grasp that this family might not have enough food to eat in their own home.  After Porter finished serving food, he went over to the table where this family was sitting and had a short conversation.  Porter was a 2nd grader at this time.  Both grandsons were a bit scared the first time they came to serve with me, to see so many individuals who were so different from who they were used to meeting.  But sweet interactions with these less-fortunate people led to greater ease and comfort in communication over the years, as these familiar faces grew on them."

The revelation of Oneness

The sweet, brief interactions we get to share with the homeless, less-fortunate individuals, couples and families by shopping, preparing and serving a sumptuous, hot meal is definitely a gift of Sathya Sai Baba.  Feeling His PRESENCE specifically reminds us of our ONENESS with each other at Project Share on both sides of the counter. This is a Sathya Sai revelation we experience each and every time we have the opportunity to do this together. The eye-to-eye contact and sharing is a joy, and conveys at least a million words in our hearts to each other.  Many wonderful replies flow each time we come… “It’s you again, the Sai Baba group, we love you and the good food you make for us!”

In this monthly opportunity to serve another, through preparing food for them in love and brotherhood, our hearts are opened to the Oneness with All. Even in the most challenging circumstances, when one person genuinely gives to another, a bond is created, an opportunity to share and care for each other is created, and in that moment, LOVE IS. The illusion falls away, the truth of our eternal divinity is grasped, and it changes who we know ourselves to be. Each time this happens, we grow and expand, and our hearts and minds are transformed.

We have also learned that those who receive our “gifts of caring” give to us equally the opportunity to know ourselves even more than we knew just a moment ago.

Doing service truly transforms the world. It has certainly transformed ours.


~ Lee Ann Lajoie & Barbara Pepper,

Sathya Sai Center of Albuquerque, NM.