I was always familiar with the name “Rosie’s Place”, located on the border of the South End and Roxbury, but was unsure of what exactly happens at this busy women’s shelter. Last night, I was given the opportunity to work with Lovin’ Spoonfuls volunteers at Rosie’s Place for a dinner service from 4pm-7:30pm. On Tuesday nights, a Lovin’ Spoonfuls driver delivers a great haul of fresh produce to Rosie’s Place. Community members always reach out to our team and want to volunteer in some way. What better way to help out a local beneficiary than including our volunteers and Lovin’ Spoonfuls staff?
We had a great turnout of 11 volunteers to prep and cook a delicious meal of shrimp scampi and a mixed green salad with honey mustard dressing. When we arrived at 4pm, we were instructed to tie our hair back and put an apron on. Andy, head of the kitchen put our group right to work and prepared us to serve soup, bread, bananas (which were very popular), coffee, tea, and sugar/sweetener. This small meal would hold the ladies over before a delicious dinner. As I passed out exactly four sugars to each woman, I noticed the diversity of the group.
Rosie’s Place was founded in the early 70’s and has helped numerous homeless women; they provide them with healthy meals (lunch and dinner), clothing, housing, medical services, transportation, educational programs, and employment opportunities. Currently, Rosie’s Place houses up to 600 guests in their emergency and short-term housing, while finding permanent housing for their clients.
Lovin’ Spoonfuls Operations Director, Lauren, was given the task of serving each woman a plate of shrimp scampi and salad. We were directed to take out 100 plates and assemble the meals. These plates would be placed on trays and carried to Lauren. After each plate was served and eaten, it was time for seconds. I was in charge of giving out extra shrimp, as I spooned the shrimp over the pasta the ladies nodded and asked for more. Many came for seconds and we made up extra plates for late guests, which were greatly appreciated. All the food we cooked was almost gone except for the salad, which would be used for lunch the next day. As we consolidated the salad and started to clean up, the dessert of apple crisp was handed out which I could tell the guests and especially their young children fully enjoyed. Guests left the dining room with full bellies and smiles on their faces, nodding a farewell and a thank you.