OWS Tucson Rained Out – Until It Wasn’t. Food continues to warm the protesters

By on November 17, 2011

Seems it never rains in sunny Arizona, But When It pours, man it pours.

By Doug Mitchell



My apologies to Hammond and Hazelwood, but that was the way it was at Occupy Tucson over the weekend.  Rain, interrupted by showers and then more rain.  When I arrived Sunday morning to do my lunch shift, I found a deserted kitchen tent with pans of left-over lasagna and bread pudding drenched in rainfall staring at me.  Everyone was in their tents trying to keep out of the weather and bundled up against the cold wet air.  The pan of coffee from breakfast was now a brown watery soup, and even the paper plates were dissolved into  liquid-cardboard pulp.  The Coleman stove wouldn’t light, and the charcoal barbecue was filled with runny ashes from the previous night’s cooking.  In short, if I didn’t believe so much in this cause and the responsibility of feeding the shivering 24/7 protesters, I would have turned around, got back in my car, driven to the closest full-service restaurant and treated  myself to a hot lunch and a glass of zinfandel.  I came close. 



Fortunately, I’m not the only one in Tucson who believes.  Within minutes a loving Tucsonan woman appeared with a cauldron of steaming hot lentil soup.  “Thought people might need something to warm them up” she said.  She even brought along paper bowls and plastic spoons, rightly figuring ours would be too damp to use.  A few minutes later another townsperson showed up with a huge pan of hot pasta with cheese, and a mixed salad.  He told me he had prepared it for us at his downtown Tucson restaurant.  He apologized  that he couldn’t take time away from his business to be there with the protesters, but wanted to show his solidarity with them.  He asked me how we were fixed for that night, because his chef “made great Mexican boiled beans.”  He’d bring them back for that night’s dinner.  The rain on my face was replaced by warm, salty tears as I realized once again how great people could be, and how wonderful it was to be part of this movement.


Over the last four or five weeks, the people of Tucson have responded to the Occupy movement with generous donations of food, supplies, clothing and warm blankets, with a giving spirit I haven’t experienced in years.  It hasn’t all been sweetness and light; ten days ago Tucson police descended on the encampment at 10:35 PM and announced the park had to be vacated within two hours.  Calls went out to friends and neighbors and they responded by getting out of bed and scurrying down to the park to help with the evacuation.  A new place was found and OT continued for another period.  Plans are constantly being updated for another assault on our right to peacefully assemble and a quick move to yet another location. 


Despite the many television and Internet images of police raids, tear-gassing and baton-battering, the movement continues to thrive and grow in numbers.   The only thing that can stop it now is the apathy of the people.  From what we see each time we’re there, the citizens of Tucson will not let that happen.  Their generosity and spirit will keep this movement alive.  And well fed. 


About Doug Mitchell