On the third Saturday of the month (yeah that's tomorrow), my church puts together a sit-down public dinner for 120 (or however many more we have food for). I was told early on that there is a place during the week for the hungry to get a good meal (it's the Berkeley Emergency Food and Housing Project), and the campus-area churches (and one shul) take turns providing weekend meals.
We shop at the food bank, figure out something to make, go to costco for the rest, and cook a scratch, more or less balanced "Mom-style meal" for the multitudes. (mostly meat but we try to do a vegi option) We get free day old bread from the Bread Workshop and serve garlic bread, milk, salad, and dessert with dinner. We hand out fruit at the door. The Food Bank is a national leader on distributing produce to the hungry, and we take advantage of that.
We have a nice space and serve with real plates, real cutlery, and someone comes in and plays our piano. Our chief chefs are also pretty good volume cooks so the food is tasty. Guests are generally very appreciative of the atmosphere and good food.
We also make and distribute sack lunches to people who don't have a ticket, or just want to grab-and-go.
If we have enough volunteers, we do table service - no chow line. Guest arrives, sits down, volunteer goes up to serving table, obtains food, serves guest.
Anyway - it's usually a lot of fun, although we work our asses off in the summer (and occasionally December) when our lovely Cal volunteers are gone. It's a great outlet for people with feed-the-multitudes tendencies, and it's an excellent service project for young people (10 on up, I'd say) individually, with parent, or with peers. We have regular groups of mother-daughter pairs and one church youth group that usually comes all the way from Napa to help us.
We have parking (which we reserve for volunteers even on game days), and are a couple of blocks from Berkeley BART, so we've had high schoolers from the burbs come out and help us.
And in December, we give out gift bags. Clean socks, small bottles of shampoo, that sort of thing. I'm gearing up to write begging letters for extra goodies - BART tix, Starbucks cards, Mickey D's cards, that sort of thing.
In other news, the cats were very naughty yesterday. One of them (I suspect Maggie) peed on my red chair after bed on Wednesday, which had my new chinos on it still in the bag, which I found out when I went to unbag the chinos and wear them. Bleah.
Lucy had to claim the spot as her own during the day. (I'd moved the chinos and deleted the soaked paper, at least.)
I have applied Nature's Miracle and hope for a non-repeat.
Time to go to work.