Kansas City Community Kitchen – Volunteer Opportunity!

The mission of Episcopal Community Services is to engage the Episcopal and broader communities, both in feeding the hungry, and in empowering the poor to move beyond the barriers of poverty with dignity through education and job training.

One great thing they do is the Kansas City Community Kitchen, where they have introduced “Dining with Dignity.” In other words, they transformed the ‘soup kitchen’ format into a complete dining experience. They always need volunteers, here’s a list of duties:

  • LUNCH SERVICE – working from 10:30 AM – 2:30 PM every weekday, this is where we need the most help. Volunteers get to choose from various positions in the dining room (wait staff, host, beverage station) and sometimes in the kitchen (dishwasher, expo/plating team). Training takes place at 10:30 before doors open at 11. Doors close at 2 and you stay to help clean up and will be out by 2:30. It takes at least 12 people each day to make this work well, but we can use as many as 30 volunteers any given day.
  • SHORT SHIFT – for corporate volunteers and those that are limited on time, give us an hour to help cover our lunch rush from 11 AM -12 PM. You’ll be helping in the dining room either waiting on guests or just bussing tables to help us keep up with the crowd. If you’ve never been a part of our lunch service before, we strongly urge you to come for training at 10:30 or wait until you’ve had a chance to work a full lunch shift before filling these positions. There are fewer of these positions open each day since we really need most people for the full lunch service.  If you’d like to stay later than 12, you are more than welcome to do so.
  • MORNING PREP – working with the staff and/or culinary trainees to help get things ready for lunch, these volunteers work from 8:30 – 10:30 AM (which is also when the lunch volunteers arrive). Common tasks are slicing bread, preparing the desserts into individual servings, chopping and mixing the salad or fruit, etc.
  • EVENING PREP TEAMS – Monday and Thursday nights from 5-7 PM we use volunteers to help us get produce sorted and prepared for use the rest of the week.   We also have a 6-8PM shift on Monday evenings.  You may be chopping onions and potatoes one week and roasting chicken and washing fruit the next – it all depends on what’s come in through our food rescue efforts. Please note that Thursday nights have several recurring groups so spots are more limited. Individuals are welcome to sign up and fill in around groups as long as there are spots open on the calendar.
  • SATURDAY CLEANING/PREP – we have three shifts:  8:30-10:30AM, 10:30-12:30PM and 1-3PM.  Each shift has a capacity of twelve volunteers.    Volunteers help with deep cleaning (the kitchen, equipment, etc.) and helping with prep for the following week. This may include sorting inventory in the pantry, walk-in, chopping produce, etc. As with evening spots, these are popular and often fill up in advance. Individuals can fill in around groups as long as there are spots open on the calendar.

Any of these options would be at the kitchen located at 750 Paseo Boulevard (not our admin office address listed below). The building is called the Downtown Community Services Center and Kansas City Community Kitchen is in the lower level. There’s a small parking lot on the west side of the building, with the entrance off of 8th Street. Parking spaces are limited, so carpooling is suggested and greatly appreciated.

All volunteers should be at least 14 years old (perhaps younger with advanced notice & adult supervision, but nobody under 10), wear long pants, closed toe shoes (NO FLIP FLOPS ALLOWED PER HEALTH CODES) and bring hats (baseball caps are fine) or they provide hairnets.

When you’re ready to schedule your volunteer day, you can go directly to the online calendar on Volunteer Matrix at http://episcopalcommunity.org/Get%20Involved/volunteer.html to see which spots are open and sign yourself up.  Just click on the big green Sign Up to Volunteer button and you will be taken to the calendar.

For more information about Episcopal Community Services visit: http://episcopalcommunity.org/

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