First Monday: Food, socks, and fun

It’s become a tradition at Grace. The First Monday in December, our regularly scheduled dinner with entertainment for guests of the Drop-In shelter and community, is St. Nick’s Day. We make sure there’s great food; Christmas carols and Holiday songs sung by our Sunday School kids and adult choir and St. Nick himself appears to hand out new warm winter socks for our guests.

The menu was ham, macaroni and cheese, green beans, and cupcakes. Helping us serve were youth from Grace and St. Andrew’s as well as many of our regulars. We planned for 150 but probably had somewhere around 110 or so. It was 64 outside when we began to serve and I suspect many of those who might have joined us if the temps were more seasonal decided to stay outside for the night and forage for food. A couple of pics:



As always, the guys were very appreciative of both the food and fellowship. Because of the relatively leisurely pace of the evening, there were lots of opportunities to sit down and visit with the guests, hear their stories and make a human connection with some of them. It was especially neat to see the intergenerational interactions and to watch how newcomers to volunteering with us jumped in both to help serve and to take the time to listen to those they were serving.



First Monday, December 5, 2011

Tonight was First Monday. As tomorrow is St. Nicholas Day, we had a visit from St. Nick himself. He distributed winter socks to our guests, who were treated to a hearty meal of ham, macaroni and cheese, carrots, and cake. We fed more than 150 people and along with our regular group of volunteers, we had several first-timers who enjoyed themselves and said they would be back to help again.

The music was provided by the children of Grace Church, and by our adult choir, who sang a variety of holiday music, Christmas carols and holiday favorites like Frosty the Snowman.

One of our volunteers remarked to me at the end of the evening that the guests were incredibly appreciative of the food and our hospitality. It’s an incredible amount of work, especially the preparation, but it’s also very rewarding. It’s also eye-opening to be reminded of the diversity of homelessness, even among our overwhelming male population.

A couple of pictures: