Prepare Breakfast for the Men's Shelter (with KindWorks, Nourish Now, and GPC)
Great things happen in the kitchen, right? It is where we prepare good meals, eat good food and, best of all, connect with others and make memories. That's what happened today in the kitchen of the Gaithersburg Presbyterian Church (GPC) (minus the part about eating good food -- darn!). Here, a dozen or so volunteers gathered to prepare breakfasts for the MCCH Men's Shelter. It smelled good for sure, but even better, it sounded good as we all gabbed and laughed getting to know one another as we chopped and cooked away!
Once a month, KindWorks organizes an event that brings 3 amazing organizations together to provide a weekends worth of breakfasts for the County's Men's Shelter on Gude Drive. GPC hosts the kitchen and has a welcoming staff, KindWorks provides the helping hands, and Nourish Now provides recovered food, yummy recipes, and the inspiration. It is the perfect trio of collaboration. Nourish Now (an organization brought to my attention 2 yrs ago by my mom) recovers food throughout the DMV and then redistributes it to over 600 needy families and 90 service organizations each month. Its mission is clear: reduce food waste and reduce hunger. They have partnerships with over 150 donor organizations that include restaurants, grocery stores, hospitals, and event venues. The donors provide the food and Nourish Now picks it up and redistributes it.
This was a great experience and was so easy to do -- I just showed up, gloved up, netted up (you are jealous now), and had a good time!! I actually ran into two people I knew there - a neighbor and a woman I've sat with at Wednesday Morning Group. We all ended up at the same work station and enjoyed getting to know each other better. It felt like we cooked together all the time! Our conversations (meaningful ones) even continued after the cooking was done and really made my experience even better. Our meals, by the way, looked and smelled fantastic. This weekend, 200 men will be eating delicious homemade apple french toast, salmon patties, and an egg casserole -- all from recovered food and people who care!
My Takeaways: (1) Nourish Now is run by HARD WORKERS! There must be so much schlepping involved to recover all of that food in a timely manner. When you think about it, the idea of redistributing unused food is not so novel - it makes sense. What is novel and unique, in my opinion, is that Nourish Now ACTS and EXECUTES this idea despite the tremendous amount of coordination, driving, and shuffling involved. I don't think there is an easy button here. Nourish Now just gets it done! (2) Cooking with friends - new or old - is always fun. It's great to shake it up by seeing familiar people in a different environment. We can look different in a new setting - literally! NO LAUGHING!