Last Friday was a triumphant day for the protestors at Zuccotti Park. Their Occupy Wall Street movement was on the verge of a shut down last Friday morning with an awaited order from New York City Mayor Bloomberg for police to clear out the park and arrest resisting protestors. The plan fell through as the Mayor saw the outpouring of support towards the movement and the growing number of protestors filling the park. Needless to say, the news felt like Heaven-sent to the occupiers who "party-ed it up" at the park on Friday to ongoing music and drum lines.
But with so many occupiers in Zuccotti Park (some 200 hundred or so) at any given point, how do they all stay fed, healthy, and warm? Well protestors, nonprofits, and companies alike have gotten together and formed organized stations throughout the park that provide amenities, toiletries, first aid, and of course, food! The Kitchen at Occupy Wall Street is definitely a working marvel since it manages to feed not only the hundreds of occupiers in the park but also the others who simply walk by to grab a free bite to eat, numbering up to the thousands- daily!
The Kitchen receives daily cash and food donations through everyone from protestors to passer-bys to established restaurants and food organizations. Luckily, the group was able to secure an off-site location where kitchen staff volunteers are able to prepare the food and then provide hungry occupiers and visitors with delicious and filling meals. One Kitchen volunteer, Chris O'Donnell, has been helping the Occupy Wall Street Kitchen for about three weeks now. Chris is a chef by trade but got involved with the movement after a friend was arrested near the Brooklyn Bridge for the same protest. He then decided to join the fight in the best way he knew how to- by cooking! When asked how he took the news that morning that they weren't going to be cleared from the park, he said "There was a lot of tension among staff and we expected to be in jail by this morning." "We even wrote down the phone number of who we could contact on our arms in case we were arrested. But here we are, still occupying the park! Bloomberg said he was going to try to kick us out and he couldn't, so it was a small victory for us and it helped to boost our morale to keeping fighting."
Celebrities are also joining the fight and showing support for the Kitchen and the movement. That same day Russell Simmons was seen walking through the park in support and Ben and Jerry, owners of Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream came down from Vermont to show their support and pass out free B & J Ice Cream to the occupiers. As one happy occupier put it, "Now that's a way to put a smile on a protestor's face!"
Check out our photos below from Occupy Wall Street and to learn more about the movement, click here.
Photos: Cyndi Amaya