Drawing by CHON GOTTI

Last week, while looking for a spot to sell my papers, I had to stop for a minute and get off my feet. My mind was racing, my head was hurting and my stomach was growling. I sat down and asked myself why I was in my current situation and wondered how long I will have to struggle like this. I’m 37 and weigh about 150, so you can tell I haven’t been eating a lot, which affects a lot.

But if you have just enough for your phone bill and nothing to get anything to eat, what should you do? I have been put in this situation numerous times and have chosen my phone because nowadays, especially when looking for work, you’re nothing without a smartphone or the Internet — which I hate. But it is what it is. Your physical abilities and mentality are both affected by your nutrition and appetite. They suffer when you don’t get enough.

As I sat and thought, an Afro-American man approached me and asked if he was allowed to smoke in the area. At this point, I knew he was just visiting D.C., because no one here cares where they smoke. I let him know it was cool and actually asked for a cigarette, which of course started a conversation about why I was out there. I explained to him my situation and what was going on. I’m very easy to talk to so people seem to get comfortable around me quick. He told me he was visiting from California and that he is a
reverend. We talked for a while and he convinced me to pray with him to help me and my situation.

Then, out of nowhere, he asked me if I would like something to eat. People that know me well and know my situation don’t even ask or offer me anything to eat. I was shocked and surprised. I took him up on his offer immediately.

He treated me to Potbelly’s and that
made my day. It gave me hope.

Marcellus Phillips, Artist/Vendor

A drawing of a grill

All drawings by CHON GOTTI


Food and water helps us to live. But please use everything in moderation. “You should eat to live, not live to eat,” said Elijah Muhamad when he led the Nation of Islam. And I truly believe that. I work out and have a balanced diet. High blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol are things you get when you are not finding a balance with food and working out. Organic is really, really overrated,but generally it is quality eating. We all cheat; but not every day. Just know that the spoon and fork is not your friend. Actually, the spoon and fork can be your enemy! So, all you beautiful people in newspaper land, be good to yourself. Nobody is going to love you like your God.

Marcus Green, Artist/Vendor

A drawing of a table with food

We can improve access to healthy food by gardening and providing seeds to help plant and grow gardens. This is a suggestion for those who want others to give. If everyone shares with one another and continue to work with our legislators, we can solve food issues at the community level. Access to healthy food has been a government priority since President Abraham Lincoln founded the USDA 1862.

Mildred M. Hall, Artist/Vendor


I remember being 12 years old and having a horrible headache, “Let’s get some ice cream,” my mother said. “It will take the headache away.” So, we went and got ice cream. I got butter pecan. I don’t remember whether it cured my headache — but it tasted fabulous. Butter pecan is still my favorite ice cream. I will always treasure that experience with my mom. I still really miss her, even though she’s been dead for 30 years.

Elizabeth Bryant, Artist/Vendor