IMG_5087(Note: Susan Grotewold recently gave an announcement before worship about Food at First. In case you missed it, we hope you’ll be sure to read her words now.)

You’ve all heard the adage, “Time is money.” I’m sure you’ve also heard, “Put your money where your mouth is.” Well, I’m proposing that we mash those two idioms together, and I’m going to ask you to put your time where their mouths are. I’m speaking of Collegiate/Wesley’s involvement in Food at First.

As most of you know, Scott and I will be moving this summer. For the past several years I have been the coordinator and one of the head chefs for Food at First. I will be needing someone to take my place soon. You have seen appeals for help in the bulletin and the Communicator, but I haven’t as yet received any response.

What I do for Food at First is fairly simple. CUMC/WF is responsible for preparing and serving the meal each fourth Friday of the month, and on months with five Fridays, we serve then too. As coordinator, I recruit volunteers. The way I do this is by using an online scheduler called Doodle. This is not the only way to recruit people, but this is the way that works best for me. I spend about half an hour each month doing this.

I am one of a very few head chefs. For this job, responsibilities include choosing the food and preparing it.  I usually go the day before the meal or the morning of the meal. I set food out to thaw, and return at 4:00 when I have a crew of volunteers there to help me prepare the meal. Usually I stay with the second crew who serves and cleans up the meal. This is about a four-hour time commitment. Again, you might have a different way of accomplishing the task, and that would be great.

Years ago Collegiate/Wesley adopted a cluster and team system of organization. Part of the philosophy of this system is that, if no volunteers exist to carry out an activity, then the activity must not be of importance to the church body and, therefore, is eliminated. I would hate to see our involvement in Food at First be discontinued due to lack of interest. Many churches volunteer on a weekly basis; I doubt their members have more time or are more concerned about their community than our own church members.

I feel Food at First is valuable for many reasons. Obviously, people who generally are in need are able to have a hot, nourishing meal for free. Not only are our guests fed, but they become a part of a community. During the years of my involvement, I have seen new guests come to the meal and sit alone. Now, those same people are engaged in a group conversation around a table. Also, I’m not sure if you are aware of something that I feel is very important. Nearly all of the food served at FAF is food that would normally have been thrown away. Because of this program, foods that are imperfect or are nearing their expiration dates, are used to feed the hungry and they do not become waste.

CUMC/WF needs one person to become the coordinator for FAF. If we had several volunteers for the head chef position, then no one would have to work every month. If we had three more volunteers for head chef, for example, each person would have to work three or four meals per year.

We also need more volunteers to help with serving and clean-up. We usually have a good prep. crew, but struggle gathering a crew to work second shift. We really need five to six people each month for serving and cleaning.

Please prayerfully consider the importance of this ministry and how you might be involved in it. To indicate your interest or ask questions, please contact me (Susan Grotewold).