Grace United Methodist Church

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The Community Table /La Mesa de la Comunidad Feeding Weekly Program


Program Purpose:

The Community Table Program is an outreach ministry of Grace United Methodist Church that provides an opportunity for sharing the Gospel and a hot lunch to members of the community, especially the homeless, the destitute, the unemployed and the lonely ones. Grace Church welcomes people from all walks oflife and affirms the dignity of every individual that comes through our doors. Everyone is welcome to sit at the table regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, residential status or physical capabilities.

Members of both congregations and the community are welcome to volunteer and participate in supporting this program.

Who is Responsible For The Program:

Grace Church’s Board of Trustees is responsible to manage this program. This involves making sure that there are funds to support the meals, a place to store food; a clean and working kitchen, clean restrooms, and that all NY City Health Department requirements for serving food are met. The Church’s Leadership Team is responsible for supporting the Board of Trustees and facilitating its ministry.

Program Content:

The program consists in providing a spiritual and social space for a weekly devotion just before serving the lunch. For five or ten minutes we share the next Sunday Gospel Lesson, a brief message of hope, and an opportunity for prayers, either intercessory prayers or a common Prayer of Thanksgiving.Volunteers should take turns in leading devotions; make sure the gospel is read in both English and Spanish and should try to involve people in the brief service. If possible we try to have a written copy of the gospel, so people can take it home, but if a written copy is not available, the leader of the devotions for that day will make sure that devotions still take place. After the gospel is shared, a meal is served and people return to their everyday lives.


People from the church and the community are welcome to volunteer in any way they are able.

Volunteers are the heart of this program and we appreciate all the work they do. Volunteers are people that are generous, reliable and want to engage in the ministry of serving others as part of they are the face of Grace church. Volunteers love people and understand that love, compassion and friendship can make a difference in people’s lives. Volunteers represent the Spirit of Christ by bringing a generous and loving attitude of serving others. Volunteers are the servers who host the meal and make sure that everyone feels welcome, is treated with respect; and fed with generosity.

On the day of the meal, volunteers lead devotions; cook, help to serve; set up the space; help to clean before and after the feeding, make people comfortable, by greeting them, finding a seat for them, making sure they have their utensils, water, napkins, etc.

Program Staffing

The program coordinator(s) is responsible for the following:

Volunteers Christian Ethics:

Different from other places of work, the church is guided by the message of the gospel. In words and deeds every person who comes here as a volunteer is preaching Christ.

Ways to Support the Program:

People can support the program by donating money to buy food, donating food for future meals; can or frozen; bringing prepared dishes; donating paper goods and desserts. Things that are needed: Meats (chicken, ground beef, meat balls, turkey and or pork); rice, pasta, spaghetti sauces, potatoes, can goods; garlic, onions, seasoning ingredients, fresh salad; fresh vegetables; plates, plastic ware, table plastic covers; coffee, coffee cups; sugar; tea, milk; juices; napkins, et cetera.

In order to maintain the mission of the church, we ask that volunteers in this program follow these practices:

  1. Welcome people with a smile.
  2. Invite people to participate in the devotions by reading the gospel. (Ask them if they would like to read. If they don’t want to it is OK, but try to persuade them gently.)
  3. Talk to people. Get to know the people in your neighborhood.
  4. Respect people’s beliefs. Not everyone that comes to church is a Christian or even a believer. You share your faith from your Christian perspective. People will make their own decisions as God leads them.
  5. If someone is disturbing, you do not shout or scream to them, or talk to them from the distance or shhhush them up. Some people that come to church to eat, sometimes come under the influence of alcohol, drugs or have a mental problem, but they are to be treated with dignity at all times.
  6. If someone begins to make noise, you try to ignore their behavior (sometimes the friends at the table will keep them under control). If their behavior becomes disruptive only one person should approach them and talk to them privately asking them to calm down. Don’t keep nagging them. If someone is violent or possess a threat to you or to someone, ask someone strong to escort them out of the building. If the situation becomes dangerous, call 911.
  7. If everyone is talking and you want to address the whole group, raise your hand and say "Hello, May have your attention, please?" Raising the hand is the universal sign when requesting silence. Then proceed with your talk.
  8. Guests are always served first at church. We are here to serve others. If everyone is served and there are left overs, volunteers may choose to eat. If you are eating and someone comes late to eat, you get up and make sure that person is served.
  9. If a guest wants to take food home or wants a second serving, in a nice manner ask them to wait until everyone is served and them served them a container. Make sure you follow up on their request. If there is no food left, go back to that person and explain that no food was left, otherwise it would have been fine.
  10. Under no circumstances does any volunteer wrap food up or set apart food to take home for themselves or for others, especially before the meals are served. Left- overs are to be packed and left in refrigerator.
  11. If volunteers as a group want to share a special meal or dessert on their own, they may do so after all the guests have left. But under no circumstances, are volunteers served a different meal or special treat while the rest of the guests are eating their food in the church.
  12. The heat or air conditioning will be turned off immediately after all the work and the cleaning is finished.

Feeding Schedule:

The Community Table meets every Tuesday of every week, with the exception of Tuesdays that are part of a Church Festival or a church ministry program or because weather conditions made it difficult for volunteers and guest to come to the church. Volunteers will receive a call letting them know if a feeding is suspended on a particular day. If you are a volunteer that is supposed to cook on a particular Tuesday and cannot make it that day, please let the leaders know in advanced. You can also arrange on your own with another volunteer friend to substitute for you as a cook for that day that you cannot make it. Make sure that that person follows through. The church is always open early on Tuesdays. You need not to call to come to the church.

There is regular feeding during the year, during Christmas Vacations and the week after Easter. There is a special Thanksgiving Day dinner on Thanksgiving Day and a Christmas Dinner for the community to be held previous to the Holy day. The dates of these dinners will be announced to the community at the appropriate time.

The Community Table is open every Tuesday from 12-1:30 P.M. People can always come early and sit in the Fellowship Hall, especially during very cold days. We hold devotions at 12:30 and then start serving the food. We will try to finish serving at 1:30 but will close the doors at 1:40.