I volunteer once a month to cook for about 80 members at a church near my house. I am not a member of this church but I have taught yoga classes and cooking classes there and was intrigued by their Food Ministry Program. There was a wonderful woman who was the minister’s wife who began this program and I thought it was a genius idea when she made a baked potato bar to serve after the Sunday morning service.
I started going to their meetings and joined as a sous chef to help. The man I helped is a microwave engineer by day and he gives his heart and skills to help in any way he can at the church on his off time. He and his wife had a restaurant in Massachusetts and he cooks mainly vegetarian food. Since he is Indian, much of his food is wonderful aromatic and healthy. I learned so much from him and loved how he infuses his engineering skills into his cooking. He taught me to pour water in a closed lid so the water on top of the lid evaporates and all the liquid inside stays inside.
After a year I was asked to take on my own day, once a month, to cook for the congregation. My friend came in for almost all of the weekends I cooked and was a tremendous help. I have a $200 budget for 80 people, which may not seem like much, but it has taught me many more skills in deal hunting, and I always find a way to make it work! I am responsible for creating the menu, shopping for all the ingredients, finding sous chefs, delivering it to the church and of course, preparing the meal.
I have found dishes that are yummy, healthy and satisfying to feed the masses. People come out of their service and a yummy meal awaits for a suggested $5 donation. This allows socialization of the congregants and is a fun time for all. The Food Ministry is a self sustaining program with a little extra money collected each week so we can buy needed items in the kitchen.
I can’t explain exactly how it makes me feel to share my talents in the kitchen but there is this warm fuzzy feeling I get when I create a wonderful hot meal for these people and they always come to thank me. Eating with others seems to be a lost indulgence and this brings us back to our roots as humans as we sit down for a meal together. I love watching everyone eat and socialize.
“True happiness comes from giving to others.” This is what I believe and is why I do this each month for this church. I am finding that the universe, or whatever you want to call it, gives back to those who give and I am a very fortunate person.