Further Volunteer Information (excerpt from 2013 Volunteer handbook)
Welcome to Southside Community Kitchen! Thank you for your care and concern for the hungry in our community. We are pleased to welcome you as a partner in our effort to feed the hungry. This booklet is prepared for you to help you to understand more about our organization and to be a handy reference. Nothing will replace the valuable advice of our volunteers and our caring staff. If you have questions or need further information please ask!
Our Mission Statement: The Southside Community Kitchen strives to provide:
well-balanced, nourishing meals to the hungry people of Lansing in a caring, dignified environment where they are reassured of their worth as God’s unique works of creation.
What We Do
The Southside Community Kitchen:
o Prepares nutritious meals consisting of 4 oz of meat, a serving of fruit and a serving of vegetable, a serving of bread, potato or grain, a dessert and 8 oz of milk, coffee, and tea.
o Serves meals on a reliable schedule, with no cost or prerequisite requirements for our guests.
o Provides a place where compassionate and caring volunteers serve guests with kindness and respect.
- Offers a warm, safe and nurturing place for our guests and volunteers to experience community and gracious hospitality.
Founded in 1987 by concerned people from several local church congregations as a response to the growing numbers of homeless and hungry people living in Lansing, the Southside Community Kitchen on August 26, 1987. Since that time, we have served over 300,000 meals to people in need. A network of dedicated volunteers work with SCK staff each meal service to prepare, serve, and clean up. Hundreds of people partner with the SCK to offer crucial financial support to our efforts. In addition, well over 35 local church congregations faithfully support and are engaged in our mission with financial donations and volunteers. We also receive several local grants from the Greater Lansing Food Bank, Food Movers, The Capital Area Community Foundation, the Dart Foundation, The Granger Foundation, Ingham County Community Grants, and various local businesses and organizations.
Who We Serve
Our guests come from a variety of backgrounds but hold one thing in common – hunger insecurity. The majority of our guests are seniors who are living on a very limited budget and some have severe chronic health problems. We serve people of all ages and welcome families and extended families in need of a good meal. Some guests come once or occasionally, others require our help with meals on a regular basis. We are open to anyone who is hungry – no questions asked. We honor our guests by bringing their meal to their place setting so there is no waiting in long lines for a meal. Our guests gather around the table not only to be nourished by our meal, but also for conversation and support from other guests. Each day we serve and average of 45-80 guests.
Southside Community Kitchen Staff
Marcia Beer, Executive Director
Marcia creates the weekly menus, makes sure all ingredients are purchased, and assures compliance with state and local health departments and licensing regulations. She also works to strengthen community relationships, manages the web site, newsletter, and is the main contact person for SCK. Marcia works to make sure we have adequate funding to successfully carry out our mission through grant writing, and other fundraising activities. Marcia especially enjoys sharing our story with groups and congregations. Please contact Marcia if your group would like to learn more about the Southside Community Kitchen.
Joann Boss, Assistant Director
JoAnn contacts volunteers and prepares monthly volunteer schedules. She also manages the dining room, making sure tables are sanitized, place settings are ready, and guests have a positive experience.
Nina Machtel and Margo Switzer, are our Chief Cooks.
Nina is in charge of meal preparation and service on Monday and Wednesday. Nina works with volunteers to prepare delicious meals – assuring food safety, quality, and nutrition at our meal service at Christ United Methodist Church.
Margo Switzer heads up the Tuesday and Thursday team preparing meals for service at Galilee Baptist Church. Margo and her team prepare the meal in our kitchen facility at Christ United Methodist Church and then it is boxed up and transported to Galilee. Both our cooks are creative, flexible, and a gracious presence at the heart of our mission.
Southside Community Kitchen Board of Directors
Our all-volunteer Board of Directors provides support, direction, and oversight for our organization. Our Directors work to spread the word about our organization and build relationships with the community. For a current list of Board Members contact the Executive Director.
Helpful Information for Volunteering at Southside Community Kitchen
o How do I volunteer?
If you would like to schedule a time to volunteer, please contact Joann Boss, Assistant Director. Joann knows the staffing needs for each week and facility and will be able to find tasks that match your experience and desire to help. Many of our volunteers come in about once a month. Arrangements can be made that meet your time and desire to help. Our volunteers are scheduled monthly, so please contact us well before your volunteer date. We especially appreciate volunteers who will return on a regular basis to assist.
o What happens if I’m not able to fulfill my volunteer shift duties?
If you are ill or otherwise unable to keep your scheduled volunteer time be sure to let us know so we can make other arrangements. Please call Joann or Marcia; if neither are available and time is short, please call Nina (for M and W shifts) or Margo (for Tu and Th shifts).
o Where is the Southside Community Kitchen?
Our kitchen facility is St. Casimir's, 800 West Barnes Avenue, Lansing, MI 48910I. Please park in the parking lot, near the SCK sign. We prepare meals M-Th at this site and serve Monday -Thursday here. On Tuesday and Thursday beginning at 9 am, preparation of the meal happens at St. Casimir's and our meal service is both at St. Casimir's and at Gallilee Baptist Church at 2511 Reo Road from 11:30 - 12:15 p.m.
o What do I bring?
To assure food safety, we ask that you bring a cap or head covering. We have aprons, gloves, and hats available for you to use. Please wear your hat and apron while preparing and serving food. If you bring a purse or bag, we have a cabinet in the kitchen for safe storage. Comfortable shoes, and casual dress are welcome!
o Who do I report to?
The chief cook will greet you and go over the tasks for the day. They are always happy to answer any questions and will assist you as necessary. They will also supervise your work to make sure our meals are prepared according to food safety procedures.
o What is a typical volunteer day?
Volunteers usually arrive around 9:00 a.m. and report to the chief cook. Together the team will divide up the many tasks and get to work. Each day we first sanitize all surfaces and cookware before starting preparation. Fruits and vegetables are washed and prepped. Cans are be opened, rinsed, and recycled. Any cardboard is broken down for recycling.
Tables are sanitized and a placemat, napkin, and plasticware are set. If time allows, volunteers work to roll knifes, forks and spoons in napkins for future used. Sugar, creamer, salt and pepper are placed on each table, as are water pitchers and coffee carafes.
When the food is ready, volunteers help serve and take the meal and beverages to our guests. Sometimes we are able to serve seconds, volunteers will ask if seconds are required and will bring the seconds to the guests.
After all guests are served, volunteers and staff have a chance to get to know each other, engage in conversation, and share a meal together before the final clean up. Cooking dishes and utensils are washed, dipped in bleach water, air-dryed before stored away.
Usually all tasks are complete on Monday and Wednesday by 1:00 p.m. and on Tuesday and Thursday at the kitchen by 11:00 am. At Galilee Baptist Church volunteers arrive around 10:45 am and are generally finished by 1:00 p.m.
Volunteer Training and Guidelines
We ask that all volunteers know and understand our mission. Doing what we do requires a team effort. We serve anyone who comes to us in need with no questions asked. We provide well-balanced meals with dignity and respect to everyone who enters our doors. We extend Christ’s love and care in all we do. Our guests live with difficult challenges on a daily basis. We extend to them a warm place to gather, a nourishing meal, a sense of belonging, and a safe place to enjoy each other’s company.
- Be patient and polite.
- Avoid sarcasm.
- Be empathetic. Understand that people may not know the rules or understand how programs work. They may feel uncomfortable coming to ask for help.
- Smile when appropriate –make people feel welcome and valued.
- Explain policy and let them know you have to follow the same rules for everyone.
- Don’t be afraid to apologize.
- Don’t feel you need to have the last word.
Conflict Resolution Techniques
- Try to remain calm.
- Try to explain the situation. Alert SCK staff of a problem - we are there to help.
- Get help, call 911, especially if threats or if violence is possible.
- Use Alternative Dispute Resolution techniques.
If a medical emergency should arise, notify staff and/or please call 911. There is a phone located in the kitchen.
Avoid contact with bodily fluids. Staff are trained and equipped to clean up contaminated areas.
We adhere to the high standards of cleanliness and sanitation required by the Michigan Department of Health. Our kitchen is regularly inspected and we pride ourselves in keeping an outstanding record of meeting and exceeding those standards.
Many of our guests have fragile immune systems or other chronic health concerns that make them especially vulnerable to infection. We work hard to minimize the risk of food born illness. Our regulations and guidelines are in place to protect you and our guests from illness. Please be especially mindful of cross contamination opportunities. We ask that you do not come to the kitchen if you are feeling ill. Please call Joann and we will find a replacement for you. We ask that you report immediately any nausea, vomiting, diarrhea to Marcia Beer. If you question the quality of safety of any ingredient, please notify the chief cook immediately. If you feel ill, please let the chief cook know immediately. If you have any concerns or have any questions we are happy to take time to talk with you.
o Hats: Please wear a hat to minimize the chance of leaving hairs in someone’s meal. It will also hold your hair in place so you do not need to brush it out of your face – contaminating your gloves.
o Gloves: Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before putting on gloves and when changing gloves. Gloves must be changed after each task. An example would be after cubing cooked chicken breasts, before changing knives and cutting up watermelon. Always be sure to change gloves after touching your hair, clothing, face, sneezing, coughing, going to the bathroom, or leaving the kitchen. When preparing food, be sure to use separate cutting boards for meats and vegetables. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water, before putting on gloves. Gloves significantly reduce the risk of food born illnesses.
o Aprons: We provide aprons to protect your clothing. We expect you to observe good personal hygiene and wear clean clothing to work. Aprons will protect your clothing from spills and splashes. Please remove your apron and leave it in the kitchen before visiting the rest room.
o Eating in the Kitchen: We ask that you refrain from eating food in the kitchen. Eating and drinking in the kitchen area is against the food code. Chances of cross contamination through saliva are high. If you must drink a beverage, please leave the kitchen area to do so. After all of our guests are served all staff and volunteers are invited to enjoy a meal together. This is a good time to get to know each other better, ask any questions you may have and relax before clean up.
o Serving: We ask that volunteers serving food wear gloves and that care is taken when handling the plates/cups. Avoid touching the rims of cups and placing fingers on plate surface. We expect guests to clear their own place setting. If you do assist a guest, please be sure to wash your hands and put on a new pair of gloves to avoid cross contamination. Guests are not allowed to take food from our facility. Staff will be responsible for managing guests who request food to take out. This is a licensing rule.
o Other safety concerns and proper preparation practices are addressed by our chief cooks.
You are an important member of our team. We appreciate your time and your commitment to this ministry. You are a valuable representative of all we do at SCK. Share your passion for this ministry and share our story wherever you go. We are always looking for caring partners to support us with both their time and their financial donations. We also appreciate donations – in- kind. Please be sure to fill out an In-Kind Donation Form so we can thank you and track these important donations.
Information on donations
Some of our volunteers find sales on food items and bring them into our pantry. For food safety, please check expiration dates to make sure items have not past the use by date. Occasionally, someone will find a good sale of fresh veggies or fruits (items that are rare from the food bank) and donate them. Canned goods are always welcome. Others have access to reduced rate for foam plates, silverware, paper towels etc and donate or offer at a substantially reduced rate to use these goods that are required to do our meal service. Many of our volunteers also make regular financial contributions to us.
Giving a financial contribution in memory or in honor of a loved one is a wonderful way to recognize them and support our vital mission. All donations will be gratefully accepted and recognized with a card or letter.
Monetary donations are welcome at any time. You may choose to support the SCK with a regular – monthly or weekly check made out and mailed to:
Southside Community Kitchen
PO Box 80844
Lansing, MI 48908
It is also possible to designate the Southside Community Kitchen for your contribution to United Way. Some employers match giving to organizations supported by their employees.
Want to Learn More?
Your church mission or outreach board might be interested (if not already) in financially supporting our efforts. Marcia would be happy to meet with interested people to share the story of the SCK and answer questions.
We also have a Facebook page. Consider joining us there for news and updates about our work at Southside Community Kitchen of Lansing.
Twice a year in June and December we send out a newsletter to our donors and partners with updates and reports about our work together. We are working on a monthly email newsletter to stay in touch with all our supporters and to help spread the good news of what we are doing to feed the hungry in Lansing.
If you have further questions, concerns, or would like a visit from our Executive Director Marcia Beer please call her at 517 375 2977 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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