Friday, December 29, 2006

Ark Soup Kitchen: Jacob's Christmas

These are pictures taken by Fr. Andrew during the 2006 Christmas Day meal of the Ark Soup Kitchen. 100-110 people were served by about 30 volunteers from around the Lehigh Valley, some coming from as far as San Francisco to take time from visiting relatives to volunteer with us.

The Express-Times of Easton did a pretty good job of covering a new ministry that has grown out of our weekly Saturday Ark Soup Kitchen. We served a special meal on Christmas Day.
Some clarifications to the story below: I counted actual heads. We served about 100 people. There were 28 volunteers. The story gives a different impression.
An additional 24 meals were boxed up and taken to the Hotel Lafayette, a downtown single room occupancy hotel where many of our Ark Soup Kitchen regulars live. We have found that many of our regulars are "creatures of habit," so to speak, so they don't think to come to the Ark on weekdays. If the Safe Harbor meal is closed (as they are on Thanksgiving and Christmas Days) then they don't explore. Instead, they don't eat. So we brought the meals to them as our gift.
The main meal was provided by Wegmens and ice cream sundaes were served by the owners and staff of The Purple Cow in downtown Easton.
In addition, there was a free book giveaway table featuring remaindered and deassessioned library books that was planned and staffed by Peg Kenyon, a member of the Daughters of the Kings chapter at Trinity.
Trinity members of the Care Circle, Choir and the Church School came to volunteer as well. This is the third year that the Ark Soup Kitchen has served a special meal on Christmas Day, and each year the numbers we served has grown. We outgrew our parish hall and went across the street to the parish hall of Saint Michael's Roman Catholic Church, where we hold our Thanksgiving and pre-Christmas party (with gifts and a visit from St. Nicholas).
We find that this ministry, like the Ark Soup Kitchen does the other 52 Saturdays each year, is a ministry both the guests who are served and to the volunteers who serve. Over half the volunteers who worked Christmas Day were not members of Trinity, and many in fact had no church relationship at all.
We plan to work even more closely with the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the police, downtown churches and local agencies to increase our reach next year.

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