Monday, October 8, 2012

From Soggy Dumpster Sandwiches To Chicken Corn Chowder

Temperatures are starting to dip, even here in the deep South. So of course we marked the occasion by sleeping in cardboard boxes on the sidewalk this weekend! 

Me (back, 2nd from L), Hannah (front, R)
and fellow Girl Scout Troop 27 members

Let me explain.  Hannah's Girl Scout troop is working on its Bronze Award.  When they learned that Alabama is the worst in the nation for child homelessness, they knew they had to do something.  They contacted the local YWCA to ask how they could help and learned that most homeless kids in Birmingham go to school, but many don't have the necessary supplies.

School supplies?  We know how to gather school supplies!  We helped collect thousands of dollars worth of supplies last year to restock schools that were destroyed by the deadly April 27th tornadoes.

So we got to work. We toured the YWCA, found a closet we could set up for school supplies, secured storage bins and started our campaign. We created promotional materials and a Facebook page and started talking to friends and neighbors.  The project culminated this weekend in a "Homeless for the Night" event at our Neighborhood Walmart.

The girls layered up and "took to the streets" to collect supplies ....

and donations ...

LOTS of donations! We haven't counted it all yet, but we're guesstimating it's about $600 (including a $50 check from one older woman and another $20 cash from a young woman who said she lived at the YWCA for a couple months earlier this year).

After a couple hours, community activist Titus Battle joined us to share his story.

Titus ran away from his adoptive family when he was 14 and lived on the street of NYC till he was 21.  He eventually joined the Army and went to college (remarkable, since he quit school in 8th grad!), studying psychology and philosophy.  30 years later, he still crusades against child abuse and for homeless children.

The girls had plenty of questions for Titus.  What did you eat when you were homeless? (answer: way too many soggy sandwiches out of dumpsters)  Where did you take a shower? ("shower? I didn't take a shower for years") Did you see anyone die on the streets? (yes, a young teenager girl who he will never forget).

Once he left, they played a quick game of cards...

then hunkered down for a night "on the streets".

It was surprisingly warm in those boxes!

Still, we were all quite happy to get back to our warm houses, with good food to put in our bellies.  For Hannah and me, that meant Cooking Light's Chicken Corn Chowder.


  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 6 green onions (aka scallions)
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken breasts
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper (we prefer freshly ground, but were out)
  • 20 ounces of frozen corn kernels, thawed 
  • 14 ounces chicken broth (fat-free, less-sodium if you want to Cook Light)
  • 2 cups milk (fat-free to Cook Light; but we used 1%)
  • shredded cheddar cheese ** the recipe says "1/2 cup (2 ounces)", but we're pretty sure 1/2 cup is actually 4 ounces. ACK!! We were wrong! ** 

Melt butter in Dutch oven or large sauce pan over medium-high heat.

Remove green tops from onions, chop the tops and set aside.  Thinly slice white portions of each onion. Add to pan and saute for 2 minutes.

Add flour to pan, cook 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk.  Stir in chicken, salt, pepper, 10 ounces of corn, and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.

While mixture simmers, combine the remaining corn and milk in a blender and process until smooth. Add milk mixture to the pan; simmer 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Ladle 2 cup of chowder into each soup bowl; sprinkle with green onion tops and top with 2 tablespoons of cheese.

Tanya  -- It's warm and creamy and someone else cooked it for me.  I say "Very good!"

Jason -- It's quite good!

Miranda -- I like it. I wish it had less chunky corn in it. Maybe you could blend most of that up next time?

Olivia -- I'm going to get another bowl.

Hannah -- Did I eat enough to have ice cream for dessert?

Want to help feed hungry Alabamians? Here's a link that will tell you where to donate your food, time, and money.


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