Gamely sporting hair nets, potato peelers, oven mitts, and plastic aprons, over 30 young adults showed up at New Covenant Center (NCC) in Stamford to prepare 150 dinners that would be served the next day to hungry clients.
The inaugural event, dubbed “A Social Night of Service,” brought together “under 30s” from many different towns, parishes and backgrounds. Yet there was a single common denominator: to help feed the hungry.
Upon arrival, the volunteers walked into the dining room of NCC where Pandora music was playing on the surround sound speakers, beverages were chilling on ice, and salty snacks were open for the taking.
Paul Harinstein, president of the NCC Advisory Board, welcomed the group and thanked them for their time and willingness to help. “It’s people like you—who give up a free night when you could be doing so many other things but are here instead to help us cook—you’re the people who really make a difference. Thank you for coming.”
Father Andy Vill of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Stamford then took the reins and clustered the volunteers into different work groups: potato peeling and cutting; chicken breading; carrot peeling and dicing; salad preparation; brownie mixing. Father Vill and NCC Head Chef Maria supervised their sous chefs, and in about 90 minutes—voila! One hundred fifty meals were prepared.
As a bonus for helping out, the volunteers ate some of the breaded chicken, mashed potatoes, salad, roasted veggies, and brownies they themselves had prepared. Over dinner they talked about where they went to college, where they currently work and what they like to do in their free time.
When asked if she would come back again to another “Social Night of Service,” a young woman named Katie replied, “Yes, definitely. I’ve always wanted to help, but was never really sure what to do. This was great, and I had a lot of fun doing it.”