We just wanted to share some highlights from our first HOPE event from 2016.
Last Wednesday, six of our HirePower colleagues walked into the Fort York Food Bank and 5 hours later walked out changed forever.
Our mission was to prepare and serve 100+ meals for members of our community that need a helping hand. What we didn’t know was that we would be the only ones on site preparing and serving the 100+ meals! So you can imagine our surprise (and terror and shock!) when our lovely co-ordinator, Margaret, explained to us that the fate of lunch that day rested in our shaky hands.
Into the kitchen we went. Waiting for us were baskets and baskets of fresh and frozen produce including potatoes, TONS of onions, more potatoes, tomatoes, green peppers, a random zucchini, multiple heads of cabbage, frozen baby carrots, frozen butternut squash, frozen chicken fingers and nuggets in the shapes of Xs, Os, and hearts (which really left an impression of some members of our team), countless cans of beans, cases of mixed green salad mix, gluten free pita, pasta, pasta sauce, noodles, and the biggest bag of rice and biggest rice cooker we have ever seen. Ever. Margaret told us we had to use everything. One of our members innocently asked for the menu or recipes to follow to which Margaret quickly replied “There is no menu; make whatever you want using all the food!” But that did not shake our HirePower spirit! Donned in our crisp white HOPE t-shirts we set out to complete our task, warrior style. Heads down, we set forth to turn the raw ingredients before us into a nutritious and delicious meal.
Our menu was ambitious and our obstacles were plenty.
We chopped, we peeled, we tossed, we watched water not boil, we Googled rice cooker directions, we searched for ingredients, we re-jigged the menu, we prayed, we continued to watched water not boil, we went to plan B and then to plan C, and we chopped some more. In the end, at two minutes past noon, our feast was ready. And besides a few hairs out of place, some tired feet, and stains on our shirts, there were no kitchen casualties to report! Our diners were anxiously watching the chaos and waiting for us to start serving. Diners enjoyed a meal of chicken, mashed and roasted potatoes, carrot-squash medley, noodles with rose sauce, steamed rice, bean salad, coleslaw, mixed green salad, and pita. Luckily for us, dessert was donated that day! We must have done something right because diners were asking for seconds and thirds (and sometimes sixths and sevenths!) .
It was a very meaningful experience for all of us to prepare this meal and then meet and serve some of the diners as they lined up for their lunch. They were very grateful for the meal and full of jokes and compliments. The end of day tally was 87 meals served. It was a fast paced day for us, but apparently it was a slow day at the Fort York Food bank and we had enough leftovers to serve another hundred meals. This experience continues to resonate with us and we feel so very grateful for all that we have and that we were able to give back and touch our community is such a special way.
On a lighter note, here is a recap of some of the things our HirePower team learned that day.
- The amount of time needed to boil 500 gallons of water is more than you think. Way more.
- No matter which wives’ tale you adhere to, onions will always make you cry. Especially after the 18th
- Mayonnaise in pasta sauce?!? It’s a thing!
- Clean up your mess in the kitchen as you go. Trust us on this. A big thank you to Manny for his dish-pan hands!
- Baby carrots take a freakishly long time to cook.
- Pita bread: not as popular as you think.
- Dessert: Way more popular than you can imagine.
- White t-shirts in the kitchen is just silly.
- Water to rice ratio is 2:1.
- Anything can be accomplished with team spirit!