September 18, 2016

Los Altos Ministry News

The Homeless Task Force

The Homeless Task Force just wrapped up an exciting summer as we continued our feeding ministry for the hungry and homeless at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in downtown Long Beach. In July, we were joined by members from two of our church Circles, the Women at the Well and the Wesleyanns, as they dedicated their support in memory of Shirley and Michael Hines. The ladies not only funded the entire meal, they also helped prepare and serve it. And what a wonderful meal it was, because they also donated fresh produce from their gardens, which they used to prepare a delicious, homemade tomato sauce for our guests! Guests were also treated to homemade cookies and a made-to-order ice cream sundae as part of the meal. In August, we welcomed the support of the LEADERS (Let's Encourage Awareness Diversity Empathy and Responsibility for Society). This group of young children (ages 5-10) and their parents also provided some great support as the children collected funds to cover the cost of the meal, shopped for the food and supplies, and served as volunteers in preparing and serving the meal. What a joy it was to see the smiles of the children as they helped serve the meal.

For anyone not familiar with our work, we provide a hot meal for the homeless and hungry at St. Luke's on the second Saturday of every month. Attendance for each meal averages between 180-220 hungry people. Meals are funded primarily through generous donations from individuals and groups within the church and each meal costs about $450. We welcome both individuals and groups of volunteers to help us prepare and serve the meal every month. We meet at 9 am at St. Luke's to start our preparations; we enjoy fellowship while we work and during the period when the meal is cooking, and we serve the meal promptly at 11:30. Clean-up is generally complete by 12:45.

If you are not available to help on Saturday with the meal, you can still help! We often solicit volunteers to bake cookies or cupcakes. Our guests really enjoy dessert treats! And if you wonder what happens to the leftover pastries from our Sunday morning coffee hour, we serve them to our guests along with a hot cup of coffee. They are usually hungry when we arrive at 9 am, and they enjoy the deluxe pastries.

We also collect small toiletry items, including shampoo, hand cream, and soap provided during your hotel stays; tooth brushes, tooth paste and mouthwash; deodorant, lip balm, new white tube socks, and other small personal items. There is a box located in the church office where you can drop off your donations. Rather than collect these items for distribution at Christmas, we now collect them throughout the year and distribute them when we have sufficient numbers to provide for each guest.

We generally have a table after each service for two Sundays preceding the monthly meal where you can donate, volunteer or get more information. Or, you can contact Donna Drukker at (562) 431-0006, or Susan McVay, at (562) 421-1272 for information. We hope to see you soon.