What Happens in All Saints Outreach on Weekends
All Saints is buzzing with activity from 6:30am Friday morning until 3:00pm on Saturday. But what exactly is all that buzzing about?
Each weekend, 50+ volunteers, a half dozen Cultivate Initiatives employees and a half dozen Concordia College nurses offer vital services to our neighbors. On Friday, we offer groceries. On Saturday, we offer hot meals, groceries, laundry, showers, hygiene products, clothing and energy healing.
Demand for our services has been increasing since March, when federal SNAP benefits were cut. We have been serving an average of 144 meals each Saturday this last month, up from 97 in early March. This is a 48% increase in demand. We served groceries to 132 families last week, up from 93 in early March, a 42% increase in demand.
We open the church at 6:30am Friday morning to prepare for our first pantry shift. At 7:00, volunteers on the Receiving Team arrive to move 3,000-5,000 lbs. of food from an OFB truck to various locations around the church and in the pantry. As they are wrapping up, our next shift arrives, the Packing Team. The Packing Team packs 300 bags of groceries to serve to our neighbors. At 11:00, our Friday Distribution Team arrives to prepare to serve groceries to our neighbors.
Notably, our neighbors start lining up for groceries at 11:00am. We organize two lines of cars in our parking lot to get as many off the streets as possible. Even so, by 12:00, cars are lined up down 40th street, waiting. We serve groceries from 12:00-2:00. During this time, the back parking lot is closed to regular traffic. By 2:30ish, our Friday Distribution Team goes home and we close up the church around 3:00.
On Saturday, we open the church by 7:30am. By 8:00am, cooks and the Team Lead for the Hot Meals Team arrive and start kitchen preparations. By 9:00am, Server Leads and Greeters arrive and by 10:00am, all other volunteers arrive. We open the doors for seating at 11:00am, greet our guests and serve refreshments. At 11:30, we serve the meal to our indoor guests. At 12:00, we serve takeout meals to people who are not comfortable sitting indoors. At 12:30, everyone cleans and closes the kitchen and the dining hall. By 1:30, Hot Meals is done for the weekend.
While Hot Meals is gearing up, we start organizing for Saturday Distribution. At 11:00, Cultivate Initiatives arrives and begins set up. All Saints combines clothes from the Clothing Closet, hygiene products and toilet paper with Cultivate Initiatives supplies. Then, they distribute everything to our neighbors. They provide services between 11:30 and 2:00. When energy healing is provided, we set up a canopy for them and inform our guests of the service. Between 11:00-2:00pm, both parking lots are closed to regular traffic to ensure the safety of pedestrians and prevent traffic problems.
Meanwhile, pantry volunteers arrive at 11:00am to prepare for our Saturday Distribution Shift. Again, cars are lining up by 11:00am and waiting on 40th by the time we open. We also serve a large number of people who walk up on Saturdays, so the sidewalk is full of people. We serve groceries from 12:00 - 2:00. We share leftover perishables with our gleaner, Our Lady of Sorrows, who packs and delivers food boxes to people who are unable to get out of their homes. At 2:00, we clean up and close the pantry for the week and leave around 3:00pm.
It really does take a community to support all that happens at All Saints on any given weekend. As many who have served, or simply stopped by the church on a Friday or Saturday note, there is a wonderful feeling when all of these ministries are taking place.
Thank you for your generosity and commitment to Outreach at All Saints. And thank you to our community partners and neighbors who have joined us in this vital work.
Tags: Outreach Ministries