Dinner with Grace builds community, engenders empathy, and combats loneliness through the power of volunteering. We cook healthy meals for individuals who have moved out of homelessness and into supportive housing. We then share this meal in fellowship with our community, the residents of the Mentone and Crosby hotels nearby in the Tenderloin of San Francisco.
As our ministry joyfully looks forward to our volunteer cooking-and-serving relaunch this coming January, we wish to reflect on our experience over the past two-plus years. We also wish to thank Grace Cathedral for its continued support. Grace provided hope during an unprecedented, challenging time for our ministry and world.
When in-person group volunteering opportunities came to a halt due to the utter disruption of the pandemic, we pivoted in order to remain connected to our community. Through dedicated coordination and creative problem-solving, Dinner with Grace continued in service to the Crosby and Mentone.
While Covid restrictions prevented volunteers from gathering to cook in the cathedral’s kitchen or serve and visit as a group at the Mentone and Crosby, we provided residents with tangible reminders of our concern and support. Dinner with Grace coordinated with local companies and small businesses, when possible, to prepare and deliver individually plated, warm meals to each SRO on a modified schedule.
This included providing tasty meals through local La Cocina, whose mission includes empowering women and low-income entrepreneurs by providing resources and mentorship to help grow their businesses. We were honored to support their purpose of business equity in place of volunteer-prepared meals. When possible, one or (at most) two vaccinated, masked volunteers assisted with the catered meal delivery and distribution or delivery of dessert. Nicole Stahl, DwG volunteer ministry leader, personally delivered cookies on several occasions.
We provided catered meals for the holidays during Covid-restrictions and will do so again this Christmas as we ramp up for our January relaunch. Nicole and dedicated DwG volunteer, Angel Rivera, will deliver custom-designed Christmas cards in addition to goody bags of holiday cookies packaged lovingly in festive, eco-friendly treat bags.
Meanwhile, a small group of DwG volunteers gathered on Zoom for catch-up chats, and this year’s Congregation Sunday provided a welcome opportunity to connect in person again. Dean Malcolm Young stopped at our table and met some of our core volunteers.
As we set our sights on January’s horizon, Dinner with Grace feels extraordinary gratitude for Grace Cathedral, our congregants, volunteers, and the Mentone and Crosby. We welcome you to join us in hope and vibrant service in 2023! Learn more about how you can get involved at gracecathedral.org/dwg.