Monday Night Hospitality
Monday Night Hospitality serves over 300 meals every Monday in All Souls’ Reidy Friendship Hall. For our 35 years we have served neighbors in need. Over 100 volunteers each week serve a restaurant style service to those in need. Guests are served on tables set with linen tablecloths, church china and flatware. Flowers adorn the tables and frequently guest musicians entertain on the piano. Social Workers are available for one-on-one meetings and have the ability to make on-line referrals on health, veteran, medical and other issues confronting our guests (all who join us for a meal are considered guests of Monday Night Hospitality).
Our guests are all in need – many are homeless, some are living on fixed incomes that do not meet all of their needs, others are elderly, and living alone. They cherish the social connections, caring and love that our Monday night meal service provides. Volunteers are encouraged to interact with guests and create a warm and welcoming environment.
Dinner consists of a several courses – all served and made in our All Souls’ kitchens. The night starts with on-site prepared soup – frequently either lentil or split pea accompanied by fresh buttered bread, a fresh salad accompanies the entrée – a protein (frequently chicken thighs), frozen vegetables and either mashed potatoes with gravy or rice. Continuous coffee, tea and juice or ice tea accompany the meal service. The menu varies each week and we have home baked deserts to end each meal. Holiday meals for Christmas, Easter, Martin Luther King Day and July 4th have special menus. Pizza night, roast beef and other special meals are possible each year due to the generosity of our volunteers. In addition we serve a vegetarian casserole option with protein sourced from beans as well as a Vegan option donated by Candle 79th (our local Vegan restaurant).
Four shifts of volunteers are needed each Monday. In the afternoon from 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM a staff working with Hanne Favelukes (email@example.com) sets 220 place settings to prepare for the evening’s first service (in order to serve over 300 tables need to be reset as the evening progresses. Counting of flatware and plates will still occur in the afternoon but actual table set-up will not start until 5:30. Late help in getting ready for our 6:50 meal service start is very much needed. Due to the short window of set-up time after youth soccer vacates our Friendship Hall at 5:30 help would very much be appreciated.
Chefs arrive between 4:00 PM and 5:00 PM to prepare each evening meal. All ingredients are fresh and purchased from Restaurant Depot or other food wholesale providers. Funds are provided by gifts from volunteers, church benefactors and by the Heart & Soul Charity Fund. The annual program budget is $64,000 which works out to about $3.7 cents per meal for over 17,000 meals. Donations from City Harvest, Candle 79 and Gristede’s are vital to keep costs as low as possible. The All Souls RE families provide home baked deserts each week. Chefs rotate every week and kitchen staff positions are coveted. To volunteer in the kitchen please contact the program co-chair, Ms. Kathleen Taylor (ktaylorNYC@gmail.com) for information about becoming part of the cooking staff. High school students frequently help with food preparation (vegetables), preparing the bread and plating deserts and are encouraged to show up at 4:00 to assist the chefs. Our kitchen is small but we encourage high school and adult participation from those that love food but ask that you contact us in advance so we can coordinate your position on our food team.
The serving staff arrived between 6:00 PM and 6:30 PM. Each evening requires about 50 volunteers to serve the diner and provide the kind of ambiance that makes our guests feel loved. We encourage volunteers to create the same sense of welcoming that a guest would experience in our homes. Volunteers wear aprons with name tags and serve specific tables and rows. Different color aprons are used to designate teams that cook, greet guests, manage the hall and perform other tasks. The delivery of meals to guests is supervised by experienced row captains and each manages 5 volunteers that are assigned to specific areas in the hall. Ten volunteers are needed to place the meals on plates which are then brought to seated guests. They are supervised by Randi Frankel. A team of volunteers supervised by Steve Butman and Kamal Shah welcomes guests and makes certain that there are seats for everyone. Those who have to wait are served coffee and tea as the wait in our church garden can be as much as an hour.
A necessary and vital part of each evening is the clean-up of the kitchen and hall. A kitchen manager organizes the process. A long time church member, Gus Young, frequently runs the dishwasher. Without help in restoring our hall and kitchen after a vigorous workout serving so many guests the evening would be impossible. The church porter staff assists and does much of the heavy work such as mopping the halls and cleaning the bathrooms. Volunteers are asked to stay for clean up-and the evening ends at 8:45 and 9:00 PM. Servers include church members, local community members, students from Manhattanville College, NYU, Columbia, members of the Junior League, employees of several New York companies including our local Duane Reed Pharmacy. Students must be of college age to participate in the meal service (for their safety). We have a retired New York Police officer with us each night to provide security for our guests and volunteers. A staff volunteer provides security for all coats and bags and watches over them all night long in a secure area. Contact George Collins, Monday Night Hospitality co-chair, (georgecollinsRR@yahoo.com), or call him at 917-653-0333. As a former All Souls Board President and Deacon he encourages church member participation in this vital social justice effort to aid our neighbors in distress. All are welcome to help make each Monday special for those who come to All Souls for comfort and love and we only ask for prior contact to stay with New York fire code regulations as to the number of people that can be in our building at any one time. Participation by members of our congregation is a vital part of our outreach efforts.
Our MNH volunteer coordinator can also be contacted. She is Nancy Yates at (firstname.lastname@example.org). We have a volunteer software web site for volunteer check in and donations as well as a MNH web site (www.mondaynighthospitality.org). Church groups such as some of the small church ministries, church staff, members of the Board of Trustees and those involved in social justice work at All Souls help us on a regular basis.
We, the staff of Monday Night Hospitality, thank the Congregation of All Souls, our Ministers, the staff members of All Souls, and Heart and Soul for making this vital work possible.
For more information
Cooking staff volunteering inquiry: Ms. Kathleen Taylor at ktaylorNYC@gmail.com
Setup volunteering inquiry: Hanne Favelukes at email@example.com