As Nest’s guests stepped up to the brightly colored La Patrona food truck owned by Arturo & Carol Flores, also of Cabo’s Ice Cream Shop in Michigan City, guests were asked, “What would you like for dinner?” This might seem like a mundane question to most, but it was a question that some of our guests had not been asked in a very long time. Our guests having the opportunity to order off of La Patrona’s delicious menu was a true gift and spoke to the exceptional generosity of La Patrona’s owners, Carol and Arturo Flores.

The La Patrona truck arrived last night just as guests were returning to the shelter for the evening, and the excitement was contagious among the guests as the incredible smells of cooking meats, tacos, and other delicious food wafted through the air. Stomachs rumbled, and anticipation grew as the dinner hour approached. Our guests were handed a ticket and told that they could order anything they wanted off of La Patrona’s menu last night, a true demonstration of La Patrona’s generosity to all of the guests of Nest. All of the food that was served last night was given to our guests at no cost to them or the shelter. Dinner was cooked, served, and donated entirely by La Patrona.

Once the taco truck opened, guests made their way to the back of the Nest parking lot to get in line and place their order. Guests laughed and joked as they shared in this joyful experience. The smiles on the faces of our guests, who stood outside in the evening sun on the first day of spring, were something truly special. As order numbers were called out, guests went and collected their food from the window. To-go containers were mounded with delicious offerings of nachos, tacos, street corn, and all sorts of mouth-watering delights. Guests’ faces shone with happiness and gratitude at La Patrona’s generosity.

This was not only an incredible gift and a truly selfless act of generosity to our shelter, but it also allowed our kitchen volunteers an exceptionally rare respite from having to cook dinner, which one kitchen volunteer said, “This only happens if we have a huge power outage and we end up ordering pizzas.” Despite dinner being cooked and served by La Patrona, kitchen volunteers still showed up last night and used the time to prep meals for later in the week, instead of cooking and serving on Tuesday evening. “This is such a rare gift for our guests and for us,” one kitchen volunteer said as she cooked a large tray of spaghetti and meatballs for dinner for later in the week, “Carol and Arturo are such good people.”

When asked about the experience of donating dinner, Carol Flores said, “I want to express our sincere gratitude for the opportunity to serve alongside you at the Nest. It was truly a rewarding experience for all of us at Cabos Ice Cream. ( La Patrona) Being able to contribute to such a noble cause, providing warm meals and a safe haven for those experiencing homelessness in our area, was a privilege. Our food truck’s presence was our humble way of saying thank you for the invaluable work Nest does in the community. I always try to ask myself, what can I do today to help.”

On behalf of Nest Community Shelter and its guests, we want to express our heartfelt gratitude for the abundant generosity shown to our guests and our shelter last night. For many, this was so much more than a delicious meal; it was friendship, community, and dignity.