1st and 4th Sunday Dinners for the Poor & Homeless

This parishioner-funded Ministry occurs on the 1st and 4th Sundays of every month.  We serve about 100 guests at 3:00 p.m. in the Parish Hall.  The doors open at 1:00pm.  Guests are welcome to arrive then for coffee, juice, snacks, and a chance to watch sports or visit with friends.

Casual volunteers are crucial to the success of our 1st and 4th Sunday meals.  No experience is required.  Your help, even if it’s only for an hour, contributes to the smooth running of this operation.  Come and meet other folks and serve a warm meal to our brothers and sisters in need.  (Any child under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.)

Donations of desserts are especially appreciated by our guests and can be brought to the Parish Hall (on a 1st or 4th Sunday) before 1:30 pm.

The times of greatest need for drop-in volunteers are: 

  • set-up/cook from noon to 1:00 pm
  • serve from 2:30
  • clean up from 3:30. We always need help cleaning up.

Lisa the cook with her delicious cornbread and two new delightful helpers, Matt and Carolyn

There are only three scheduled positions per dinner:  Cook, Supervisor and Floater, which is a time commitment of about 5 hours (11:30 am – 4:30 pm) and requires training.  If you are interested in any of these critical jobs, we suggest that you start as a casual volunteer, coming at different times to see how the dinner works.  Please phone the Parish Office (510)-526-4811 if any of these key positions appeals to you, and the staff will put you in contact with the Dinner Managers.

A bit of history:

This program began in the mid-1980s as sandwiches to-go prepared under the direction of Sr. Ann Ronin, O.P.  In 1989, at the suggestion of then-pastor Conrad Antonsen, O.P., Peter Hurd introduced a sit-down dinner on the 4th Sunday of the month.  Sometime later, Trish Maniatis instituted a similar dinner on the 1st Sunday of every month. After many years of supervising these operations, Peter and Trish moved on from this ministry, but are still remembered, as well as other parishioners seminal to its continuing success:  Rex Ehling, Larry Mannion, (the late) Jerry O’Brien, Patty Darragh, Chris Durieux, Ann Nelson, and Earl Jacobs.

For the past several years, the husband-and-wife team of George Baranowski and Mary Jo Senica have supervised the operation and its volunteer staff.  Peter Conn is the treasurer.  Ann Fitzgerald and Wendy McWilliams oversee the ordering of food and the bread pick-up from Semifreddi’s Bakery.  Longtime volunteer Florence Wahl distributes the leftover food, among her many other contributions.

Last, but certainly not least, we are grateful to the parishioners of St. Mary Magdalen Parish for their ongoing financial and volunteer support of this Ministry.  These meals could not take place without their unwavering commitment.  Thank you!