|Pilgrim Church’s "Food Ministry"|
Pilgrim Church’s "food ministry" provides a strong anchor for all
members of the Uphams Corner community. Defining much of their
urban ministiry, food-related activities include:
- Distributing soup, pasta, sandwiches, beverages and
clothing to over a hundred needy individuals on Boston Common every
- Serving a nutritious, free lunch to over a hundred people from the community every Saturday
- Serving over sixty families every month at the church’s Emergency Food Pantry
- Distributing free bread three mornings every week
Rev. John Odams and volunteers, both from the congregation and from
churches and other organizations throughout the Boston area, come to
Pilgrim to prepare and to serve. The biggest day is Saturday
starting at 7am and ending around 3pm with the food distribution on the
Boston Common at 9am and lunch served to the community starting at 12
the church is alive with volunteers throughout the week. The first
"order of the week" is placing orders with the Greater Boston Food Bank
for the food needed to carry out the work of the Food Pantry, serving
on the Common and cooking the Community Lunch.
If you or someone you know needs help from the food pantry, please call
Project Bread's Food Source Hotline (1-800-645-8333). Pilgrim
Church's food pantry is not a "walk-in food pantry" but rather serves
as a local arm of Project Bread.
Then comes the task of picking
up the food.
Here's a great story:
A group of adults
with developmental disabilities travel from Watertown each week
(this has been ongoing for over 8 years) to transport food from the
Greater Boston Food Bank to the Pilgrim Church. For them, this is a
favorite activity. Not only is it a wonderful outting, but they
set themselves goals and look forward to setting a record
each week of how much they can transport.
They load the boxes of food into the van,
drive to the Pilgrim Church and unload the food.
How disappointed some are if the order is small - but .... there's always next week.
volunteers separate the food into pantry packages.
Making "Bread Baskets"
Well versed in their weekly responsibilities, these volunteers also
prepare "bread baskets" from bread donated by Whole Foods, Trader Joes
and other organizations committed to donating rather than trashing
their food. "Only one per family," the sign says. Chock full of
bagels, french bread, whole grain bread and more and free for anyone
who stops by, one bread basket (standard grocery store size plastic
bag) is more than enough.
On Saturdays, volunteers arrive at 7am to begin preparing food for
serving on the Boston Common. The muffins and other snacks were
wrapped the day before, but breakfast on the common also includes a hot
meal (chili, American chop suey or a hearty soup) prepared that
morning. After the church van leaves for the Common, cooks turn
their efforts to preparing a nutritous and "down home" tasty lunch for
the community - all of it free.
Today’s menu depends wholly on the food available that week from the Food Bank:
- Fresh mixed salad
- Meat and cooked veggies
- Starch such as potatoes, pasta or rice
- Beverage - juice, coffee, water
Diners and Servers Praise Saturday Lunch
||The food is excellent here. Besides that, it's free. My favorite four
letter word. What do I mean by "excellent"? It's community. This
church is part of our community. You can see I’m sitting at my table by
myself. I like being alone but I also like being with community.
That’s how the Pilgrim lunch makes me feel - really good.
||I’ve been coming here for lunch on Saturdays for about three years. I
really look forward to it every Saturday morning. Yes, I know a few
people here, but it doesn't really matter if I know them by name.
Eating is a social activity. Most the time I eat by myself at home.
Coming here gives me a chance to see the same people every week - my
friends. We greet each other: "How are you?" And what's so nice is that
if I miss a couple weeks, people actually tell me they missed me. They
make me feel like I'm part of community. Besides the food is excellent,
good home cooking.
||I’m the mail carrier who delivers mail to the church. I bring the mail
and then I sit down to lunch. Why do I come here? Because they asked
me to. And they tell me that I should let other people know about the
lunch, too. Invite other people. The people here are very nice and the
food is good.
I have been coming here for lunch for many, many years. I go way back.
I don't know if you know about this but there was a time when the
church served lunch every day for $.50. That was almost 30 years ago.
||I've been coming here for lunch for about five or six years. I live in
the neighborhood and the food is very good. The people who come to
lunch here are really nice. I like them.
||I have been helping out here, serving lunch for about 1 1/2 years. To
me it is a meaningful way to give back to this wonderful community and
to support Pilgrim Church in its untiring efforts to serve the needs of
the community and to fulfill their mission. Serving here has been such
a wonderful experience.
I don't have to eat any food but I feel filled up when I go home.
There's something about just getting out here. There’s a clear sense
about the people, too, grateful. You can tell by the smiles and their
responses. Not all the people react that way. Some seem to be caught
up in issues. I’m not looking for thank you’s. I just continue to do
what I'm called to do and eventually… People will realize they are
|Posted: November 12, 2012
Nancy J Conrad