Get Involved! Serve with Share

Real Life member Jesse Thompson spearheaded an effort to get our church involved in our community by serving meals through Share.  We asked him for the background behind the Share project and what other Real Life members can do to get involved!

1) What is Share?  What do they do for our community?  Why did Real Life choose to serve them?
Share is a non-profit foundation that provides shelter housing, transitional housing, and nutritional assistance in the greater Vancouver area.  In 2011, they provided shelter assistance for 1,400 individuals and transitional housing assistance for 1,200+ households.  They also served 90,000+ free hot meals to the public.

I had been coordinating a monthly meal service for about five years at my previous church, and when I joined Real Life I asked Jeff if he wanted me to try and set up something similar.  He agreed, and so far 40+ volunteers have prepared and served over 1000 meals.

2) What do we do to serve Share?  What can I expect to do when I volunteer?
The way Share meal service works is that various community organizations sign up to ‘own’ one meal each month, and they staff it with 4-6 people.  Volunteers will be asked to put on gloves and help prepare the various parts of the meal, which always includes fruit salad, green salad, some kind of vegetable side, dessert, and an entrée.  People with cooking experience generally end up working on the entrée part, while everyone else just “pops and chops”  (open lots of cans and cut up fruits & veggies into bite-sized chunks).  Local farmers will often donate produce, which we try to incorporate somehow (usually into one of the salads).

At 4:30 we serve the residents of the shelter, then we get to eat, and then at 5:00 we open the doors to the public and serve anyone and everyone who shows up.  A typical meal line is 75% men, 20% women, and 5% children.  At 5:30, we announce “Seconds!” and then we serve people more food if they want it, often allowing them to fill to-go containers for later.  We leave at 5:45, which means we don’t have to clean up the mess we just made.  Nice!

3) When are our service projects done?
Our day is the third Thursday of every month.  We start at 2:30 PM and finish at about 5:45.


4) How many people can participate?  How can I get involved?
I need four or five people each month, although only 3-4 are needed to help prepare the meal.  It always takes more people to serve than to prep.  For that reason, I have made a special slot on the signup sheet for someone to sign up to come at 4:15 instead of 2:30.  That person will only be there for an hour and a half, to dish out the food we just made.  Anyone who wants to can sign up on the sheet in the church lobby, up to three months in advance.

5) Why is it important for Real Life members to serve with Share?
1.  God calls us to serve those who are hungry and in need, and there aren’t always a lot of safe and effective ways to do that.  Here is one.

2.  Serving together is a great way to get to know a few other people in the church better.  Peeling potatoes together offers plenty of time to converse.

3.  Cooking and serving food together is fun.  You get a thanked a lot by complete strangers, and you will leave with a fun story or two to tell friends & family.

Interested in serving?  Leave a comment and we’ll get you signed up!


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