Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Guessing Game

Linda getting ready to pass a tray of green salads into the dining room. Each week, volunteers Linda and Leah work together to make and plate all of the salads, creatively using the available ingredients. Today's salads were topped with homemade croutons and Parmesan cheese.

When a meal is free and everyone is welcome, you just have to do your best to guess how much food you'll need in order to serve everyone who shows up.

In the nearly seven years since we served our first sit-down Wednesday Community Meal at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in March of 2008, I'm proud to say we've never turned anyone away for lack of food.

We've always had enough and the secret to our success isn't what you'd think. It's not about math, being hyper-organized, rigid or controlling. It's really the opposite. The secret to having enough is to be open-minded, flexible and positive.

Each week, we use the ingredients we have to make and serve the best food we can and when we are running low, we don't say, "that's it, close the doors," we say "alright, it's time to come up with something else." We might have to resort to using canned goods from the pantry but there's always something we can make and our wonderful guests are worth the effort. Plus, saying "yes" is so much nicer than saying "no."

The first guests in the door today got seasoned ground beef and gravy over rice. Next, we served sliced prime rib over rice, chili ribs, spaghetti and lasagna. Alongside these main dishes we served sides of roasted tomatoes and green beans. There was also hot soup, salad and dessert.

We served 259 meals today.

Every guest was offered a bowl of hot soup.

Seasoned ground beef and gravy over rice. We received many compliments on this simple dish we made using ground beef donated by Lift Urban Portland and rice from Good Samaritan Hospital.

Sliced prime rib over rice was especially popular in the dining room. The prime rib was donated by Good Samaritan Hospital.

Spaghetti topped with Parmesan cheese.

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