At OIM we serve up special meals for our Street Friends four times a year. Christmas, Easter, a Summer BBQ and Thanksgiving! We do them a little differently in that we hold our meals a couple of weeks after the date since there are many Christmas Meals at Christmas (OK we do have the summer BBQ in the summer!)
Two weeks ago, we had our Christmas Meal and it was a hit with our Street Friends and volunteers! From a numbers perspective we served 173 meals, but from a Joy perspective we made a difference in the lives of 173 individuals and all had a couple of great interactions with our volunteers! We purposely stack the volunteers on table service so that every one of our servers has time to sit and converse with any of our guests who has a wish for conversation.
We try to make sure this was not just another meal by preparing and serving all the trimmings; there are festive tablecloths; there are placemats that were coloured by donors; there were Christmas crackers; and there were cards from individuals and church groups to let our Friends know that people care about them! And of course, even though it was late January, A CHRISTMAS TREE!
The success was borne out by the comments and smiles we got from the recipients. While many compliments were about the meal, most were about the great time they had and the sense of community. Our Friends were aware of and appreciative of how our volunteers and donors went out of their way to make sure that they were not only fed but seen and listened to.
While I believe we do a lot of worthwhile work for our Street Friends at OIM, I cannot wait for the next special meal a couple of weeks after Easter so we can sit down with them again and demonstrate the message of Christ in action!
~Brian Griffin, Volunteer Coordinator