For the last seven years, St. Barnabas has been hosting a Community Dinner, where every second Saturday we prepare and serve a nutritious dinner to parishioners, neighbors, and those in our community who are having trouble putting food on the table consistently. We also provide food and personal item bags for those people who need them. Originally, we had the assistance of parishioners from St. John the Baptist, but they dropped out of the program a couple of years ago to pursue other opportunities.
The program was set up in coordination with other local churches—the Greater Bible church handing out food bags every week, St. Luke’s Lutheran church having a dinner on the fourth Saturday, and I think a couple of others providing assistance. We hope that having these dinners will provide extra food help to people on food stamps, especially toward the end of the month when many have already spent all their benefits. Our coordinators meet as a committee once a year to make up menus. Every month we come up with good recipes for the menu items, including amounts needed for the 50 or so people who attend. We shop for food, round up a crew for the work, prepare the meal, serve it, and clean up afterwards.
For the past few years, Carolyn Nelson, Jennie Armstrong, and I have been coordinating this effort, but we are now trying to find someone or a new group who would be willing to be the coordinator(s) for the next few years, either under the same parameters or a different model. It’s possible that if enough people were involved in the planning, each of us might only be responsible for a couple of dinners per year. Carolyn, Jennie, and I would still like to be involved in the process, but all of us have other issues on our plates and would like to pass on the main coordination responsibilities to someone new. Any takers? This is a signature ministry for St. Barnabas and serves an important need in the neighborhood, so we need to ensure that it continues. Please contact one of us, or Fr. Sean if you might be willing to lead, or co-lead, this effort.