The Lazarus House Soup Kitchen in Lawrence bubbled with excitement Sunday as four state winners in the Miss USA pageant came as volunteers serving lunch.
The young women – Miss Massachusetts, Miss Teen Massachusetts, Miss Maine and Miss Teen Maine USA – brought both joy and compassion, and during a lull in serving entertained the guests with an impromptu dance.
“We are dedicated to working in our communities,” said Sabrina Victor, Miss Massachusetts USA.
Victor, who says prayer gives her a sense of serenity, connected immediately with the faith-based mission of Lazarus House.
“I am from Brockton and I know about inner cities. They are doing great work here.”
Annika Sharma, Miss Teen Massachusetts USA and a student at Boston College, dreams of being the CEO of her own fashion company and designed her own
But as she greeted those for whom even basic clothing can be a constant need, her bright smile warmed those coming in from a very cold day.
As each guest came through the food line, the women seemed to make a personal connection. They brought their hearts and a desire to serve, the Lazarus House staff observed.
Watching Julia Van Steenberghe, Miss Maine USA, work behind the counter one could see her experience as a waitress.
Steenberghe, a Presidential Scholar at the University of Maine, saw that both a plate of food was ready and that each guest had what they needed.
Lazarus House is a long way from somewhat remote Deer Isle, where Grace Morey, Miss Maine Teen USA, grew up, but she saw similarities.
“I am from a small town in Maine,” said Morey. “A tight-knit community is important to me. I really feel that here. I love the work that Lazarus House does and love to talk and meet with these people.”
The four state winners will go on to compete in the national pageant later this year. Regardless the outcome, they promised to try to return again to Lazarus House.
“We’ve made a connection here that we want to continue,” said Victor.