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>turkey rice with peas and carrots, chez Quarter Meals Soup Kitchen

(Moved from August 4, 2009) 

A tall, bright-eyed pretty woman named Maria with a young Debra Winger vibe has found time to volunteer at this Berkeley soup kitchen for years. She's a firefighter serving at Oakland station 17. She handles her slotted spoon deftly, plops onto paper plates a generous scoop of fluffy rice with bits of meat in it, plus a scoop of peas and carrots. Today is my first day of volunteering. I am assigned the job of handing the plates to the steady stream of people coming in. Two college kids (?) serve at the salad/fruit/bread table. Surprising facts:1) Almost all of the diners are men.
2) Yes, there are creatively carved ponchos and torn ski jackets with down sticking out, but many are actually dressed well. Some are dressed like office workers.
3) This soup kitchen starts serving around 4, wraps up by 5. (In my imagination, dinner is served around 7.)
4) Berkeley Food and Housing Project, which runs this "Quarter Meals" soup kitchen program at Trinity United Methodist Church on Bancroft, is short on money. They only serve hot meals Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and bagged lunches Thursdays and Fridays.
5) They don't cook the meals in their own kitchen. Food comes prepared from another soup kitchen. They used to cook here, when their kitchen hood worked.
6) A considerable number of the diners are vegetarians. Today's menu was; turkey rice, boiled peas & carrots, plain rice, salad, pears, bread.
Alas, I didn't get to sample the food. Looked good!

photos by Sharon Hahn Darlin

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4.8.09

    I, for one, think it's great you did this.