Sometimes the cup runneth over, that is, the volunteer cup. Nearly as distressing as not enough volunteers is too many volunteers. Too many volunteers mean folks go away from the experience feeling they weren't needed and don't return for another day. That is one reason we maintain a handy sign-up sheet, on-line (http://tinyurl.com/cnsshelterdinnersignup). The various tasks and shift times are listed for several months in advance so that potential volunteers can sign up early (and often!). In January, several new, potential volunteers contacted me to see if they could volunteer even if the slots were all filled. I had to say a reluctant "no" but with encouragement to sign up for the next dinner.
In January, Vivian C. signed up for shopping. She had not previously shopped for the Shelter dinner and had lots of questions. Our e-mails back and forth burned up the atmosphere for awhile. In the end, all the necessary ingredients were purchased and delivered right on time and with a grin.
In the kitchen were Billi, Doug, Eve, CJ, and Yonit. Dani orchestrated the quinoa vegetarian stew, the green salad, and tea. Vicky came and read to us a wise men of Chelm story that provoked some interesting discussion. R. Stuart "supervised". He and I discussed the possibility of the CNS Jazz Combo providing dinner entertainment at a future Shelter Meal. Sari, Jerry G., and Barbara W. helped pull the dinner together, served, and cleaned up, Shifra, Stephen, and Ruth baked delicious cookies and mini-cheesecakes.
We had a lot of food left over, even though several of the guys came back for seconds and thirds. When this happens, we pack up the leftovers into take away boxes and hand them out to the men and women who are sleeping in the park across the street or on the front steps of the Veterans Memorial Building. The night air was very cold and they were very grateful for the unexpected hot meal.