Megan is going to be confirmed this February and as part of her commitment to this sacrament, she needs to do some volunteering in her community. Tonight, she and two other friends, along with Kelly and I, helped serve dinner at the Shakopee Community Center, which is affiliated with St. Mark’s Catholic Church. Our church works alongside St. Marks as sort of a “sister church”. That sounds strange because it has a man’s name, but that is the connection and every now and then, St. John’s will help with these events.
We arrived at 4:45 to get our assignments and learned a little about the program. The Non-Profit Organization is called, “Loaves and Fishes”. They serve dinner to those less fortunate in their community for free. Anyone is allowed to drop in and have a warm meal. I believe they offer one meal a week each month. The dinner consisted of Fried Chicken, mashed potatoes & gravy, corn, fresh fruit and buns or bread. The dessert was muffins. They also can chose to have milk or water as their beverage.
There were about 15-20 volunteers tonight and we were all from St. Johns Church. Mostly moms with their kids and one dad brought his daughter. I had the most, bringing in four kids. I win! haha. Once we were told how the night was going to run, we each picked a spot to work at. Megan, Melanie, and Courtney chose the bread area. They handed out buns, bread and muffins as the people came down the line.
Kelly chose the corn station. This was a tough spot to be in because it was about 96 degrees outside and pretty toasty inside and she had to stand over this hot bin of corn for an hour. Whew! Get that girl some water. She got the hang of it pretty quick and did a great job.
I was on tray duty. My job was to pass out a tray to everyone with silverware wrapped in a napkin. This was going well at first, but then I was starting to get low on silverware and nobody seemed to have any more for me. Then when the main guy called everyone up for seconds, I totally panicked and said, “Oh my….I’ll never have enough silverware!” He told me, “don’t worry, the ones that come up for seconds usually keep their silverware.” Well, of course that didn’t happen and they all kept telling me, “Oops, I already bused my dishes.” I ended up having to ask each person, “do you need silverware or did you keep your first pair?” I felt so stupid asking these poor people this. They were all very nice and in the end, I just barely made it through with a fork or two to spare. I think I was the only one with issues.
Once dinner was served and seconds were given out, we helped clean up and pack away the leftovers. It was a very fun experience for everyone and the girls all enjoyed working together and doing something worthwhile for others. I think it’s important to do these volunteer things every now and then, to remember how lucky and truly blessed we are for what we have. Some days we beg for more, but then you see these people and their children and it puts things into perspective once again. The little kids were so excited to get a muffin tonight on their tray. It must not be something they get each time and it sure was fun to see those smiles when they’d sneak back in and ask for another. What a simple request by a child, but not always easy for the parent to fulfill. I’m glad we made these kids smile tonight and helped fill up their tummies for one night. I could see in some of the parents faces that this isn’t easy for them to walk in and take a tray of their own. I just hope we made them feel comfortable with our smiles and generosity tonight so that they’ll come back next week and feel good about themselves.