Seventy-year-old Phyllis Coelho plunged her blue gloved hands into a plastic sink of gray soapy water and spent an afternoon last week cheerfully washing dishes "to support the revolution."
The retired social worker had traveled from Belfast, Maine, the day before with her 78-year-old friend and fellow dishwasher, Jane Sanford.
They headed directly to the protest at Zuccotti Park because, they said, it was time to "show up."
At a table behind her, Nan Terrie, an 18-year-old law student from Orlando, Florida, was furiously chopping carrots and onions even as she juggled cell phone calls from people wanting to donate food, and handed hastily scribbled "to do" lists for other volunteers.
Anj Ferrara, a 24-year-old artist, was tearing open some of the 40 boxed pizzas that had just arrived.
And Tom Hintze, a 24-year-old bike tour guide, was trying to figure out the logistics of getting a truck and driver to pick up massive trays of pulled pork that someone wanted to send from Brooklyn.
The makeshift "kitchen" in the center of the park is the ever-evolving heart of the Occupy Wall Street encampment, managing to feed thousands daily even as it scrambles to figure out how to deal with an endless flow of donations.
But the people who work there - and those they serve - say it is much more, imbuing it with the same fervor that has marked the protests from the beginning.
"Revolution is fueled by eggplant parmigiana!" cried David Everitt-Carlson, smacking his lips and cleaning his plate after dinner.
Sitting cross-legged in a cardboard box daubed with the words "I think outside the box" the unemployed 55-year-old said that, after months of homelessness, he had never eaten better.
Image: In this October 11, 2011 photo, a glove-wearing server doles out donated food from trays on a table in the makeshift kitchen at Occupy Wall Street's Zuccotti Park headquarters in New York.
Text: Helen O'Neill, AP
AP Images (Any unauthorised reproduction is strictly prohibited)