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Saturday, January 21, 2006

Improvisation A La Carte

We ran into a little problem with our monthly Feeding the Multitudes exercise.

Shortly after New Year's, a lot of plaster fell dramatically from the ceiling in the parish hall, where we set up and serve. It could have been all the *#$% rain, it could have been sheer old age - that part of the building dates from 1914.

In any case, the room was declared by management to be Unfit for Occupation. No chance of getting it fixed before today, either. (Although it should be done by next month.)

We had a bit of discussion about this. One coordinator was in favor of cancelling entirely. But the two actually in charge this month put their heads together and came up with the idea of a one-bowl meal, plus extra sack lunches. (We normally make 100, for people who can't get the 120 tickets we hand out.)

Dinner was prepared in the parish hall kitchen (which has the utensils and the industrial stove) and wheeled down in the elevator to the courtyard. We had a small contingient of terrific volunteers (mother-daughter teams from a wonderful organization that always sends volunteers) make what turned out to be 175 sandwiches in our smaller social hall, which had no ceiling issues.

We had chili and garlic bread ... and ham/baloney/cheese sammiches in the sack lunches. It was all gone by about 5:40.

I felt we were flying by the seat of our pants, but we got done and it went well. I don't think the church at large noticed that over 100 people had been eating in the courtyard except for some eggshells. We picked up as well as we could in the dark. I was home shortly after six.

(During a slack period, the head honchita taught me about the organization's finances ... an eye opener, as I thought the parish was funding it. It isn't. We're all about donations.)

And thanks be to God that it was dry and mild for the people lining up and eating.

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