Article: Wonderful Alchemy

About our Banquet and Community Dinner Series, by Michelle Girasole

It wasn’t so long ago that our Fellowship Hall sat empty and quiet during the pandemic.  On the church staff at the time, I would walk through the hall on my way from the office to the church school classrooms, and feel myself longing for the days of lively coffee hours or potlucks, surrounded by the smiles and friendly chatter of KCC friends. It was a very lonely feeling to be in that huge room with only memories of our beloved community that could no longer gather.  I missed everyone, and dreamed of someday, when the Hall would be filled with people again.

Fast forward to our Community Dinners this summer.   Light and laughter filled the Hall.  The sound of piano music wafted up to the rafters as the delicious smells came out of the kitchen, carried by smiling KCC friends, eager to serve and enjoy our fresh culinary creations with the people starting to arrive at the door.  That someday I dreamed about during the shutdown had arrived and it was wonderful!

In 2021, our Funding Forward team had planned a series of quarterly fundraiser chef dinners that would fund a series of monthly community dinners.  We designed the event series to be our church’s contribution to fighting food insecurity in our community.  We chose this mission to share “the love and justice of Jesus” by using the talents and resources we already had at our disposal (a brand new kitchen, willing volunteers, contacts at food rescue organizations) to make a difference in the world around us. It was meant to be self-funded, outward-facing, and joyful.  And, it is!  

Six months into this new experiment, we are seeing it all come to life, as planned.  Our Beneficent Banquets are very popular – 2 sold out events, with local chefs teaching cooking skills and helping us raise money that mostly goes to the food rescue We Share Hope in Rumford, RI.  As we purchase food at a discount, the money we pay helps support their mission – to provide food and other necessities for those who need it most in our community. They also reduce food waste by accepting food that cannot be sold at retail or used by the restaurants.  Our purchases gives us the food items we need to serve a fresh, hot meal at our free dinners, as well as helping fund their staff, facilities, utilities, delivery trucks, etc.. Such a delicious WIN WIN!

The feedback from all involved as been absolutely wonderful – there is something magical about sharing food that bonds us with each other, and the tireless efforts of our team captains and volunteers has been so appreciated!  We could not do this without you!  Every carrot chopped, every table set, every dish cleaned and put away is one step towards fulfilling our mission to feed God’s people. We like to say, ‘everyone needs to eat’ and how rewarding it has been to make new friends, and see familiar faces from month-to-month, coming in from the neighborhood to prepare and/or enjoy another meal with the KCC church family.

Save the date to join us at upcoming events:

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