Volunteer Overview – April, 2023
The Sack Lunch Ministry serves individuals who come to Grace during the week in need of a meal and a welcome. Grace has always served our neighbors in this capacity. Several years ago, to avoid disrupting the work of office staff, the program was formalized and now has regularly scheduled volunteers who give out these meals from 11 to 1PM on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
A cart by the door is set up across from the office (or, on certain days, next to the door in the breezeway) and signs are set up next to the church on Weidler and NE 17th Avenue. When guests arrive, we give them a bag containing a nutritious assortment of non-perishable food. These bags are prepared in advance by other volunteers. We also offer bottled water, socks, hats, gloves, toiletries and various supplies we may have on hand. Street Roots guides are available when people ask about other resources in Portland.
Hospitality and a warm greeting are as much a part of this ministry as dispensing a wholesome meal. Many guests are regulars who want to stop and exchange a smile and a word. We greet them warmly and with respect, allowing them to open the door to further conversation.
Sack lunch volunteers who are able and willing, participate in keeping the Little Free Pantry stocked. Parishioners also replenish the pantry on their own with a wider variety of non-perishable donations in small and larger sizes including items that can be cooked.
We keep track of what we give out for the Annual Report and for various surveys that come to Grace from other organizations about services provided.
We welcome new volunteers and any creative ideas about improving and expanding this ministry. And we appreciate the donations that make it possible for us to continue this work.
For comments or questions please contact Sally Fraser, Avril Johnson or the office staff.
Welcome donations to make up the Sack Lunches are:
Pop-top Chef Boyardee Beef Ravioli, pop-top stews
Ready-to-eat pop-top hearty soup in cans (please no canned soup that requires adding water)
Apple sauce or other 4 ounce fruit cups; small 100% juice items;
Pudding cups or Hunt’s Pudding Snack Pack
Raisins (single serving boxes); Small packages of snacking nuts
Brunswick or other chicken, tuna or ham salad with crackers (3.25 oz) found at Dollar Store
Beef jerky; Vienna Sausage; Kraft Ritz Crackers ’n Cheese
Cookie Packages (Mini ‘Nilla Wafers, Nutter Butter Bites, Mini Oreos, Mini Chips Ahoy, etc.)
Sack Lunch General Description – April, 2023 – SF
Volunteer Guidelines – April, 2023
Introduction: The sack lunch ministry serves individuals who come to Grace during the week in need of a meal and a welcome. Hospitality and a warm greeting are as much a part of this ministry as dispensing a wholesome meal. Many guests are regulars who want to stop and exchange a smile and a word.
Grace has always served our neighbors in this capacity. Ten or so years ago, in order to avoid disrupting the work of office staff, the program was formalized and staffed with volunteers who give out lunches from 11 to 1PM on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Lunches are bagged in bulk in advance. These lunches, bottles of water, socks and other items to give away on a cart are moved by the door to the breezeway before the distribution starts and resupplied during the shift as needed. Street Roots guides are available when people ask about other resources in Portland.
Cart Placement: Good communication and flexibility are needed to facilitate multiple uses of the building; this involves placing the cart in one of two locations according to circumstances on a particular day.
When PHAME and Grace Art Camp are not in session in the building, the cart generally is inside the door by the office to the breezeway. When they are using the campus, the cart is set up in the breezeway doorway opening to NE 17th Avenue.
For safety reasons, the answer is generally “no” because we are not adequately staffed in the office or at the sack lunch cart and therefore don’t allow people access to the building. Rare exceptions may be made, in which case one person needs to remain in discreet proximity to the bathroom to make sure the person does not overstay or is left to wander the building alone, and to check the premises are left clean afterwards.
However, when PHAME and/or children are in the building, for security purposes, no one is allowed inside, no exceptions. People can be redirected to the closest public bathrooms, a few blocks away at Lloyd Center Mall.
Signage for Sack Lunches:
Set up for handing out lunches includes placing the signage. There are two sandwich boards stored next to the cart, one for the corner close to the Little Free Pantry, turned to be seen by anyone coming along Weidler; the other goes by the Weidler Street Grace parking lot exit, also facing people coming from either direction on Weidler. Blue laminated Sack Lunch signs are stored on the cart and secured on the railings leading to the 17th Avenue doors to the breezeway, directing people up the stairs to the lunches.
A warm welcome (can be a simple “Hello.”) along with the offer of a sack lunch is a good opening. People coming for a lunch do not always look like people in need, so volunteers may want to simply ask how they can help. Take your cue from the guest. Offering a bottle of water and other items may open the door to further conversation, and guests often ask for particular items. Various toiletries are kept in a bag on the cart as well as in a drawer in the cabinet. See “supplies,” below.
A daily record of the items given out that day is kept in the notebook on the cart, and should be filled out during the shift. When additional lunches are given out at random hours they should be recorded when possible. These figures are used in the Annual Report and various surveys concerning our work in the community.
Backup Supplies are kept in several places:
Sack lunches may be found in the right side of the credenza across from the office. A larger supply is in the cupboard next to the restroom on the main floor. The key is in the office and staff will point it out to you.
Socks, hats, gloves etc. are found in the left side of the credenza across from the office and in the 2nd and 3rd drawers of the credenza, along with miscellaneous items that may be given away. Additional hat, socks and glove supplies are in the very top cupboard across from the fridge in the kitchen. Items to make the lunches are in the locked cupboard below.
Bottled Water is unwrapped and stored in the left side of the credenza, backup packages may be in the cupboard near the bathroom on the main floor. This is a popular item and the supply goes quickly.
Toiletries are in the top drawer of the credenza. The array of toiletries depends upon donations: soap, shampoo, lotion, conditioner, other…. you are welcome to use your discretion to offer or give out what you think is needed.
For any suggestions, comments or corrections, please contact Sally Fraser, Avril Johnson or the office staff.
Sack Lunch Guidelines – April, 2023 – SF