Every Saturday since January of 2017, a group of people has been gathering in the parking lot of the Fond du Lac Public Library for a meal. It started small, with a couple of dozen sandwiches; a few weeks later, we added a crock pot of soup and packed a small folding table. Now, we pack two canopies, several folding tables, camp chairs, boxes of baked goods, one or two (or sometimes three) Nesco roasters, coolers, carafes of hot beverages and bins of picnic supplies, and around 30-40 people stop by for a meal and conversation. Volunteers are not just people from our church family, but people from other churches, people we know from our workplaces, our circles of friends, our hobbies, social media connections, family connections, nonprofit partners and the local shelter network. The downstairs kitchen has been shaken out and freshened up to make room for donated supplies and a space for volunteers to prepare meals, and the faithful old Nesco roasters are in use almost every week.
If you’d like to get involved but aren’t able to commit to every week, here are some ways you can join in:
Eagles’ Nest: A church in Brookfield that has a food pantry receives food donations every Friday morning. We like to send one or two volunteers down to help them sort and put away food; if they have extra food, they give it to Stone Soup. We would also like to build partnerships with local stores to help them reduce food waste (as long as we don’t negatively impact donations to local pantries).
Cooking: Thanks to our partnership with Eagles’ Nest, we have donated ingredients around which you can build a main dish. If you need other ingredients, we can put the word out on our Facebook page inviting people to donate these items.
Transportation: Once we’re at our site, Stone Soup volunteers mostly sit around and eat with people for two hours. However, we need help getting our stuff to and from the site. We have the use of a trailer, but we need people with vehicles large enough to tow it to and from the Library who would be part of a rotation.
Communication: Coordinating volunteers and getting information to and from them each week is a constant challenge. We would love to have a committed volunteer who could serve as a communication hub.
Presence: At its heart, Stone Soup is not about feeding people. It’s about building community around a shared meal. We invite you to come and eat with someone, learn their name and ask how their week was.
Prayer: The Kingdom of God is at work in the community that is growing around the old Nescos in the Library parking lot. We need people to lift up our volunteers, our guests, our conversations, our friendships and our connections every week.
If you have any questions, talk to Tony Penton, Kathy Bonde or Gabrielle Hastings.