What: packaging cake and chopping onions
When: Monday, 6-8:30pm
When you first arrive at God’s Love We Deliver (GLWD), you’ll be asked to sign in with security before heading down the hall to fill out some paperwork. I was a few minutes late, and also the only new volunteer, so I was given an abbreviated GLWD orientation one-on-one, before heading to the basement kitchen. You’ll be asked to put on a hairnet, apron, and rubber gloves (after a thorough 20 second scrub up to the elbows). Since I was late, I jumped right in to the cake-packaging assembly line that the other One Brick volunteers had started. For the next 40 minutes or so, our speedy team of 8 managed to cut and package enough cake for approximately 1,300 desserts (to be delivered the next day by GLWD volunteers). After a short break, we wiped down our station and started the next task: peeling, cutting, and dicing enough yellow onions to feed an army. We finished up around 7:30, cleaned our work station, and that was all she wrote.
The entire time, our team seemed to be in the food prep zone. While packaging the cake, we were mostly silent; I for one, didn’t want to be the Chatty Cathy that got distracted and ruined the seamless flow of our assembly line. During the onion prep, things were a bit more social as everyone talked about how NOT to cry when chopping onions and laughing when each of us, at some point, had to step away from the table to stop the tears from flowing. As us OneBrickers did our jobs, so too were the other GLWD volunteers. There were about 20 other people (a rough estimate) on the other side of the kitchen, prepping and cooking meals for the next day’s delivery.
According to their website, “God’s Love We Deliver’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other serious illnesses by alleviating hunger and malnutrition. We prepare and deliver nutritious, high-quality meals to people who, because of their illness, are unable to provide or prepare meals for themselves.“. You can volunteer directly with GLWD, but they are currently booked up for most on-going volunteer positions; I tried registering for an orientation some time ago but had to be put on a waiting list. However, they do say on their website that they are in need of van assistants: here you would be assisting with delivering meals to both Neighborhood Meal Distribution Centers and individual client homes, during the day, Monday-Friday (one-time shifts welcome).If you want to be in the kitchen, you can go through OneBrick like I did, bypass the waiting list, and only need to get the brief orientation before getting your hands dirty… or um, clean, in this case. You won’t be guaranteed a spot every week, but at least you can try it out. Other things to know:
- I think this would be a great volunteer activity for anyone hoping to become a chef or just improve your knife skills. You can spend a few hours in a huge, fully-equipped kitchen, slicing and dicing large quantities of an ever-changing array of food. Practice makes perfect. Also, I swear by the Food Network and love being in the kitchen, so it was nice to cook for cause instead of cooking for my boyfriend.
- Make sure you have appropriate kitchen attire on. Yes, your diamond ring is beautiful but it’ll poke through a latex glove before you can say ‘pass the cutting board’.
- All that work in the kitchen make you hungry? Seafood fan? After you’re done at GLWD, cross the street and head into Aquagrill. This place has a daily selection of 25-30 different kinds of oysters, in addition to the regular menu which is equally as impressive. It may be expensive, but it’s been touted as one of the best seafood restaurants in the city, so it must be worth it…. right?