Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Volunteering at the Local Soup Kitchen Tuesday Mornings

I'm living back in my hometown temporarily and so I've begun every other Tuesday, volunteering at the local soup kitchen with a family member, where we distribute hot meals and sack lunches to low income and homeless individuals and families. The soup kitchen is operated by the Catholic church across the street and is located in the basement of the old catholic school, meals are prepared and served in the kitchen and clients eat in the old cafeteria. Also in the basement, next door to the kitchen, is a day room where clients can receive educational tutoring, assistance with GED course work and job applications, Dress for Sucess and Share You Soles clothing for employment, and on some days just serves as a safe, warm place where they can relax, watch movies, and socialize with others. Also, up on the first floor is a St. Vincent DePaul resale store. I've been volunteering with the soup kitchen for the last eight years, off and on, as times allows and the regular volunteers and the director know me. When we got there around 8:30 and the hot food was already prepared and sack lunches ready to go, as sometimes meals are prepared in advance. A few of the regular inviduals we serve often choose to give back and volunteer and were washing the tables in the dinning room and emptying the trash cans for us. Shortly after we arrived, Second Harvest food bank made a delivery of fresh produce and various milk products, so I helped put away food. I noticed that we had a bushel of patatoes, more patotoes than we knew what to do with, and had gotten fresh produce in, and so suggested to the director that maybe we could make my grandmother's famous patotoe soup recipe. She liked the idea and so I set to cleaning and peeling patotoes. I got the patotoes done and had a minute to sit down, but I'm always looking around to see if there's anything that needs done. Today's menu consists of hot vegetable soup (made this morning), salad, yogurt sticks,  fruit cocktail, and orange juice or water, plus they can choose to get a sack lunch to take with them (consisting of a sandwhich, piece of fruit, chips, and a desert), and extras such as loaves of bread, and heads of lettuce. We opened the door and started serving at 9:30 (we serve until 11am) and I was right upfront, distributing the meals,  as well as pouring more juice and washing trays as needed. We served an estimated 85 individuals, about average for a given day.

Soup Kitchen Hours sign

Bulletin board: Welcome to the Harvest Soup Kitchen
Bulletin board: I can do all things through Christ who gives me stregnth

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