SCK Volunteer Handbook
Revised 10/1/2021 - Note - Additional COVID Procedures in place
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 to help you to learn more about our organization, function as a brief orientation, and to be a handy reference. We also ask that you provide your contact information, emergency contact information, and fill out the photo permission form. Nothing will replace the valuable advice of our volunteers and our caring staff. If you have questions or need further information please ask!
What We Do
The Southside Community Kitchen:
- 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.
- Serves meals on a reliable schedule, with no cost or prerequisite requirements for our guests.
- 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. All guests are treated with respect and dignity.
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 served the first meal 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 community members and organizations partner with the SCK to offer critical financial support for our mission. 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 an average of 45-80 guests.
Southside Community Kitchen Staff
Marcia Beer, Executive Director (517) 375-2977
Marcia holds a Food Manager License and provides general supervision and support to our mission. 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 with the Board of Directors 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.
Joanne Boss, Assistant Director (517) 723-1388
JoAnn builds relationships with our guests and volunteers. Each month she call 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. Joanne is a wonderful resource for our guests and is able to refer people to agencies for additional assistance in other areas.
Open, Head Cook - Coaches volunteers in safe serve procedures, organizes each meal preparation, and assure quality and safety of all food.
Tim Beer, Custodian aka "Grime Fighter".
Tim comes in before meal prep and after clean up to set up/tear down. He also sweeps, mops, and checks/cleans bathroom.
Southside Community Kitchen Board of Directors
Our all-volunteer Board of Directors provides support, direction, and oversight for our organization. Our Directors work to provide Southside Community Kitchen with vision, financial oversight, and help spread the word about our organization. For a current list of Board Members contact the Executive Director.
Helpful Information for Volunteering at Southside Community Kitchen
How do I volunteer?
If you would like volunteer please contact Joanne Boss, Assistant Director. Joanne knows the staffing needs for each week 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.
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 Joanne or Marcia.
Where is the Southside Community Kitchen?
Our kitchen facility is at Greater Lansing Unitarian Universalist Church, 5509 South Pennsylvania Ave, Lansing, MI 48911 Plenty of parking is available in the lot just north of the building. If the door is locked, please ring the bell and we’ll let you in. We prepare meals M-Th at this site and serve Monday and Wednesday here. On Tuesday and Thursday beginning at 9 am, we prepare a meal and send it at 11:00 am to Galilee Baptist Church at 2511 Reo Road.
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 - no flip flops, and casual dress are welcome! We follow health department and SafeServ protocol for the safe handling and preparation of food. Our cheif cook will instruct volunteers in our operating proceedures.
Who do I report to?
The chief cook will greet you and assign 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. Our cook has lots of experience and will guide you through the preparation process and answer any questions.
What is a typical volunteer day?
Volunteers arrive at 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 begin by sanitizing all surfaces and cookware before starting preparation. Fruits and vegetables are washed and prepped. Cans are opened, rinsed, and recycled. Any cardboard is broken down for recycling. There are three recycle bins located outside the kitchen door making for easy 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. With the event of Covid precautions new proceedures are in effect to minimize contact with these items.
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 guests if they would like seconds and bring the seconds to the guests. Guests are offered their choice of beverages served from a cart by a volunteer.
After all guests are served, volunteers and staff are encouraged 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 and we appreciate your flexibility. 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.
Interactions with our guests are overwhelmingly positive however, you may experience disagreements from our guests. Please know that staff are ready to intervene if necessary. Please let us know if you have concerns. We manage conflicts with the following in mind.
Our Conflict Resolution Techniques
- Try to remain calm.
- Try to explain the situation.
- 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. If you or a guest are injured at SCK please notify the cook on duty to complete an incident report. We'll ask for contact information and record the details of the event and actions taken. SCK has a comprehensive first aid kit on site.
We adhere to the high standards of cleanliness and sanitation required by the Michigan Department of Health. Volunteers are expected to arrive in clean clothes and neat in appearance. 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. Never come to the kitchen if you are feeling ill. Keeping everyone healthy is our highest priority. Our regulations and guidelines are in place to protect you and our guests from illness. Please be especially mindful of cross contamination opportunities. Our cook will coach you in proper food handling technique.
We ask that you do not come to the kitchen if you are feeling ill. Please call Joanne 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 or 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. During Covid concerns, we ask that all volunteers be vaccinated. We suggest wearing face coverings even if vaccinated to protect our guests and ourselves.
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. We have some hats available if you forget to bring yours.
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.
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.
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.
Serving: We ask that all 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.
Other safety concerns and proper preparation practices are addressed by our chief cooks. Special Covid related proceedures will be posted.
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. 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. We accept online donations at www.southsidecommunitykitchen.org. 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.
Please visit our web site for more information about Southside Community Kitchen.
Go to www.southsidecommunitykitchen.org.
We also have a Facebook page. Consider joining us there for news and updates about our work at Southside Community Kitchen of Lansing. This is a great source for current information and events at SCK.
Twice a year in Summer and Winter we send out a newsletter to our donors and partners with updates and reports about our work together.
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.
Required Training Information
The Southside Community Kitchen participates with the USDA food programs that require we adhere to the following policy.
“In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.
To file a complaint of discrimination, write:
USDA, Director, Office SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 or call (202)720-6382(TTY).
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.”
CIVIL RIGHTS TRAINING FOR VOLUNTEERS WHO ASSIST WITH FNS PROGRAMS
Civil Rights - are the rights of every citizen!
Equal, fair and respectful treatment of everyone.
The elimination of illegal barriers that prevent or deter anyone from receiving benefits.
To ensure that recipients and program staff are aware of rights and responsibilities
____ Goals of civil rights – fairness and equality of treatment and benefit delivery
____ Legal prohibitions – discrimination is prohibited on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, sex, and disability in special nutrition programs funded by the USDA, Food and Nutrition Service. (The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program) and Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations also prohibit discrimination based on religion and political beliefs in addition to the bases listed above.)
____ Types of Discrimination – Disparate treatment (intentional), disparate impact (neutral rule impacts disproportionately on a group), reprisal/retaliation against complainant or his/her family, associates or others involved in complaint process or exercising civil rights.
____ Exceptions - Congress can establish a program that is intended for certain groups of people, and it is not discrimination to exclude those who do not meet eligibility requirements. For example, Congress can set age limits, and this is not age discrimination or disability discrimination for those who do not meet the age limits.
____ When do civil rights rules apply? Civil rights rules apply any time there is any federal financial assistance. Federal financial assistance is receiving anything of value from the federal government – not just cash. It can include commodities, training, equipment, and other goods and services.
____ Special circumstances
____ Make sure people with disabilities are accommodated. Sites should be accessible to people with all types of disabilities (e.g. mobility, sight, hearing, other) or alternate means of service delivery should be advertised and provided.
____ Provide other language assistance to persons with limited English proficiency who could not gain meaningful access to the program without other language assistance. Assistance must always be provided to LEP households, but the level or type of assistance can vary based on circumstances.
____ Other requirements
____ Treat all people with dignity and respect.
____ Display the USDA “And Justice for All…” non-discrimination poster in a place where it can be seen by all who visit the premises.
____ Include the USDA non-discrimination statement on all materials that mention USDA funded programs and make sure the statement is also on web sites that mention USDA funded programs.
____ Collect racial/ethnic data in CSFP and use it to target outreach and to assess participation. Make sure individual data are kept confidential.
____ Conduct outreach to insure that potentially eligible persons and households are aware of the program and have information on how to apply. Provide suggestions about how to make more people aware of the program and how to receive benefits.
____ Maintain confidentiality. It is not appropriate to talk about who is receiving benefits and to make remarks about them. Never share information with others regardless of an expression of good intentions. Refer all requests for information to managers. What happens at the site stays at the site. The exception, of course, is any illegal or inappropriate behavior that should be reported to state or federal officials.
____ Cooperate with State and Federal reviewers. They are required to conduct periodic compliance reviews to help insure that program and civil rights rules are being obeyed.
____ If there is non-compliance, correction of problems and voluntary compliance is sought. Failure to abide by civil rights rules can lead to loss of Federal financial assistance.
____ Sexual harassment is prohibited. Do not engage in or tolerate unwanted or unwelcome sexual behavior including jokes, touching, requests for sexual favors, etc. Report violations to management, state, or federal officials.
____ Advise people who allege discrimination how to file a complaint. Write USDA, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call toll free (866) 632-9992 (Voice). Individuals who are hearing impaired or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Almost all complaints are actually investigated by staff from the FNS field offices located in the state where the complaint originated.
____ If a conflict occurs, remain calm. Call for assistance immediately if you feel threatened. Consider mediation or a third party to help resolve the situation.
____ Follow the platinum rule – treat people the way they would like to be treated (or be aware of what that is)!
Federal regulations require Civil Rights training annually
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.