A March (2019) Supper Club Update

Our 9th Pasadena Community Supper Club. Months ago when we first started, we thought we were merely crazy. Then we assumed we were just lucky. Now? Well, let’s not get cocky. We’re simply blessed - in the way we’ve been welcomed into the community at Centennial Place, by our church partners and volunteers, and through the generosity of our donors.

Unfortunately this month’s recap is going to be a little more black and white. The only photo evidence is the one in the header. I do a bad job of making sure photos are being taken. My only defense is that all of our volunteers are busy talking to people, serving food, and generally engaged in the work of having a good time.

We were joined this month by our first repeat church partner, Missio Community Church. Pastor Len Tang and his congregation were just as enthusiastic as last time, back in October. In fact we had way more volunteers than we could use to pass out food - which is the furthest thing possible from a complaint. In a small but welcome change, Len also asked if we could change the room setup a bit to create a little more intimate space during the worship time. I think we’ll start doing that from now on.

Not pictured here is the plate of meatloaf, roast potatoes, and mixed vegetables we served. I cooked the meatloaf on sheet pans, rather than in a loaf pan, which made the whole process easier and faster. Supper Club Sundays are still mostly all-day affairs, but it’s not quite the level of roughly ordered chaos they were at the start.

A special thanks goes out to our friend Vicki, who first joined us in February and kindly offered not only to come back in March (even without her church) and make us cookies. They were delicious, and the time savings is much appreciated.

This month’s dinner was made financially possible thanks to the generosity of Missio Community Church, Leyna & Ryan, Annette & Jerry, Kristen & Daniel, and by another generous donation from Erik. Erik was in town the other week and got to see Centennial Place firsthand, and helped me serve breakfast on the last Friday of the month.

A brief note on non-Sunday dinner activities…

I have officially wrapped up my breakfast service at Rosebud Coffee. You’ll recall from previous updates that I was putting in a lot of time there, the proceeds from which were supporting the mission of Rosebud (employing and training at-risk youth aging out of foster care) as well as our work through Pasadena Community Supper Club. It was an experiment to see if we could have a sort of social enterprise to fund our work.

The experiment was a success, based purely in terms of dollars in versus dollars out. I’m pleased to report here to our donors that your generosity was not wasted. But, factoring in my time, it was not sustainable. I worked at it for a full 6 months, from October through the end of March, and from November through January I was putting in around 60 hours per week. (That’s on top of my full-time bill-paying job, mind you.) I could not keep that pace, so I started to scale back. Ultimately, scaling back was not the best thing for Rosebud, which needed a dedicated, committed partner to grow its operations.

I met a lot of great people through the work, several of which have come to volunteer at our dinners. I learned much that I hope I can apply to some future food-related work.

In the near future, I’m going to start doing breakfasts at Centennial Place on a weekly basis. They’re smaller and more manageable affairs, and the residents really seem to like it. Now that we have our 501(c)(3) status, I can also begin looking for grants that will allow us to take on some additional opportunities.

Thanks, as always, for reading, and for your support.

-Fred