It was shortly after 5pm, when I arrived with my daughter in tow. The locked cafeteria door was opened for us by a very polite and quiet teenage boy. We entered a room full of teenagers in huddled conversations around a few cafeteria tables. Hmmm. I wandered upstairs to Nurse Maureen’s office assuming she would be there seeing to any number of details she manages on a daily basis. On her door was a sign suggesting that volunteers for the Third Thursday dinner should meet her in the cafeteria at 5:10. Back downstairs we go.
While waiting for Maureen to take charge as she does so effectively, I started setting up the chafing trays. I inspected to make sure that casseroles were in the warming ovens. I moved items unrelated to our community meal out of the way, and started unpacking juices and waters. And sure enough in just a few minutes Maureen appeared. She immediately got the crowd of teenagers engaged in setting up dinner tables with red checkered table cloths, centered with jars of fake flowers, while I set up salads and rolls on the secondary buffet table, and plates and plastic utensils on to the side of the main buffet . Others got cans of sterno lit and water in the chafing dishes, and then brought out the trays of casseroles from the warming ovens. Finally chairs were set out in front of the stage so that after dinner, guests could enjoy the Afro-Caribbean dance performance and lesson. Set up finished just in time for the crowds to start coming through the food line.
This is how I would describe the perfect evening of dinner and dance, attended by 80 or so PHA families, friends, teachers, administrators. Don’t miss our next one on March 17. And for those that can, please make a contribution to support our efforts to end hunger at PHA by going to our Donate link.