Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Coffee Hour Guidelines

Here's an overview of HROC's coffee hour "procedures." We're pretty informal, but this summary describes the general way our fellowship meals are provided.

Please let me (Susan) know if you have any comments or questions about this information!
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Like any kitchen should be in a home, the HROC kitchen should be a place of warmth, fellowship, and safety. While all are invited to participate in helping to prepare and serve food, we need to do so with a certain amount of organization to prevent kitchen crowding and accidents, and promote food safety.

Much of this is common sense and already being observed, but for the sake of clarity and consistency we decided to summarize the guidelines here.

Health and Safety

During regular Sunday morning Liturgies, the food service is provided by the Coffee Hour Team assigned for that week. As much as possible, people not on the team for that week should avoid being in the kitchen during food prep, serving, and cleanup. And unless something is obviously burning or boiling over, no one else should handle the food that is on the stove or in the oven during Liturgy. This ensures that the food is prepared the way the Team intended and enhances food safety.

Children should be reminded not to come into the kitchen while adults are in there working unless they ask first. We've had occasional close calls when handling hot dishes.

For the sake of your fellow parishioners, please do not prepare and/or serve food if you are ill. Just call one of your team members to let them know and we will all make do with what we have for food, and will pray for your recovery!

Of course, please wash your hands before doing any work with the food. We also have a box of disposable gloves that you can use while doing food prep or washing up, which can protect your hands as well as the food!

Work Flow and Responsibilities

Coffee and Tea: are usually made by Mat. Cindy (coffee) and Mat. Galina (tea). A couple of extra pots of coffee are made towards the end of Liturgy by Alex K. or Cindy. Coffee hour teams don’t have to worry about making these unless asked.

Food prep: As mentioned above, while the food is being prepared or served, others should try to avoid being in the kitchen so that the Team for that week has ample room to work.

Serving: Unless we have an unusually small attendance, it is wise to serve the hot food to the parishioners to ensure that everyone gets at least a small portion. There are clergy and laity upstairs performing various post-Liturgy duties, and they are often the last people to come through the line, so we want to make sure there is some food left for them! Once everyone, including the upstairs workers, have had a first serving, then the remaining food can be left for people to have second helpings.

Leftovers: Once everyone has had the opportunity to eat, including second helpings, then any leftover food should be packaged up. Always check first with the person who brought the food to see if they want to take it home, and if not, offer it to others. There are containers back in the furnace room.

Cleanup: The Coffee Hour team for that week is responsible for cleaning the kitchen, parish hall, and bathrooms. They may of course enlist any others to help them if needed, but people not on that week’s team should try to stay out of the kitchen as much as possible to allow the team to work efficiently.

Once the food is served, a dishpan to collect dirty dishes can be set up on the small table.

See the Cleanup Checklist (at the end of this) for more details on cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms. Note that a team member should take dirty towels and dishcloths home, wash them, then bring them back the next week.

Refrigerator: PLEASE do not leave any perishable items (i.e., anything other than condiments or beverages with a long shelf life) in the refrigerator UNLESS there is a specific purpose for them. For example, you know that they will be used a few days later at another meal. If you are doing this, make sure the item is clearly labeled with the contents, the date, and how/when it is to be used. Similarly, do not leave items in the chest freezer in the furnace room unless they are well packaged and labeled.

Food: Each Coffee Hour team is welcome to prepare whatever they feel like making! In general, though, simple food is encouraged. There is no expectation of expensive or special food. We don’t want people to experience time or financial stress because of their participation in coffee hour!

There are anywhere from 50 to 70 individuals on an average Sunday morning. In general, it is good to have main dishes, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables (salad or veggies and dip), and dessert. The main dishes can be meats, casseroles, soups, and/or sandwiches. Please observe any Lenten restrictions. If you need any further guidance on food selection, please see Susan. (More Meal Suggestions below)

Pantry items: We keep condiments in the fridge and various dry foods such as crackers, chips, and cookies in the cabinets of the serving island. There is no particular person in charge of these things, so feel free to keep an eye on any needs and contribute as you wish. 

Paper supplies: Most of the extra paper supplies are stored on the shelf above the coat closet. The eco-friendly paper plates are in boxes in the furnace room. If you think we are running low on something, please tell Susan or Margaret.


Coffee Hour Meal Suggestions

These guidelines are for the meals following our Sunday Divine Liturgies.  Other meals, such as following Saturday Vespers or a weekday service, are done as pot-luck (people who would like to stay for the meal are asked to bring something to share).

The three main categories of coffee hour meals:
Lenten - no meat/dairy/eggs, very simple meals, smaller quantities (sometimes fish is allowed)
Festal - no restrictions at all, more elaborate or special dishes
Ordinary - there are no particular restrictions, but the meals should be simpler compared to festal days - “everyday” cooking

An “Ordinary” Sample Menu
Note - these are guidelines, not rigid rules!  We just want everyone to keep in mind the basic goals of plentiful but economical food that is reasonably simple to prepare with minimal stress.

The following should be provided by the coffee hour team:

- Main dishes: Casseroles, soups, chilis, stews, plates of sandwiches, etc.  The type can vary with the season, from a hearty chili in the winter to a cold pasta and chicken salad in the summer.  Normally you will need to double or triple a typical recipe.  They should be made ahead and warmed up (if needed) during the service.  The key is to be as economical as possible, while providing an adequate amount for everyone.  These should be your “everyday” recipes - not those that you normally save for a special occasion.

- fruit

- raw vegetables (either a salad or veggies and dip)

- sweets (cookies, sweet bread, etc.)

Most coffee hour teams are made up of 3 or 4 individuals or families. One way to divide up the food is for most members to bring a main item and a side item. 

For example:

Member 1: a casserole (one extra large or two regular-sized pans) and fruit
Member 2: meat, 5-6 lbs. (meatballs or kielbasa, for example) and a large salad
Member 3: trays of sandwiches and dessert
Member 4: a couple of side dishes, such as bread/butter, chips/dip, raw veggies.

Financial help: we do have donations available to help any team member purchase ingredients. Just speak with Susan if this would be helpful for you.

Work Checklists

Setup Checklist

  • Unload dishwasher, if needed
  • Tea and/or coffee - if normal preparers are absent, someone must fill in
  • Fresh hand towels in the kitchen and bathroom
  • Hang a plastic grocery bag on the closet doorknob to collect dirty towels
  • Fill water dispenser with filtered water
  • Napkins on the tables
  • Paper plates and cups on counter
  • Milk in the pitcher

Cleanup Checklist
(note: there is a paid cleaning crew that does deeper cleaning once a month. Aside from clearing food and dishes, Teams just need to give the place a decent surface cleaning.)

  • Load mugs, flatware, bowls, etc. into dishwasher
  • Wipe down tables, counters, and red trays
  • Hand wash items that can’t go in the dishwasher
  • Bathrooms - wipe down sink, toilet, and floor (as needed), empty trashcans, restock toilet paper and paper towels
  • Refill napkin holders on tables
  • Sweep/vacuum coffee hall floor and stairs
  • Empty and rinse out coffee and tea dispensers
  • Empty and rinse out Bunn coffee pots and filter baskets (don’t forget decaf pot!)
  • Empty water dispenser and leave open to air dry
  • Start dishwasher
  • Collect any used towels and dishcloths from the kitchen and bathroom (take home to wash)
  • Take garbage to dumpster
  • Put fresh bags in trash cans
  • If you notice any paper or cleaning supplies are low, please inform Susan or Margaret

Monday, February 25, 2013

Holy Conversation Meal Planning


First of all, a quick summary of the meals:
Friday evening after the speakers - wine and finger foods (cheese and crackers, hummus, fruit...)
Saturday morning 
- Breakfast (quiche, fruit, sweet breads (banana, pumpkin))
- Lunch (sandwich tray, salad fixins, fruit, veggies and hummus, pickle tray, cheese and crackers, etc.)

I'm going to list the items that us HROCers are going to provide for the meals, along with commitments I've gotten from some of you so far.  Please write back with any preferences you have for what you will bring.

Hummus - Faith

Sweet breads - Marjorie, Mary, Vera

Fruit (washed and prepped - ready to be served) Marjorie, Christy, Geanas, Faith 

Vegetables - lettuce, sliced tomatoes, baby carrots, grape tomatoes, cuke slices (washed and ready to serve) - Cindy is bringing the carrots and grape tomatoes, Oksana- lettuce, sliced tom, cukes

Pickle and olive tray (ready to serve) - Laura 

Thursday, January 29, 2009

HROC Coffee Hour Past and Future

Several of us HROCers have been having conversations recently about our Coffee Hour, and have come up with some ideas to try to keep what is good about our after-Liturgy meals, but reduce some of the negatives. I wanted to share with you our thoughts and plans. (Note: this is only about the meals after Divine Liturgy on Sundays.)

What is good about our Coffee Hour. As most of you know, our after-Liturgy meal evolved over time from bagels and coffee to the more complete meal it is now, with hot foods through desserts. This is wonderful because it allows us to have leisurely fellowship time together rather than feeling the need to hurry along to get a more hearty meal after our morning of fasting. Also, the families who provide the meals generally enjoy being creative with the meal planning and view the time and resources they spend as a gift to the parishioners.

What is not so good. Because there are no strict guidelines about our coffee hours, some families are unsure about what or how much to prepare. This can lead to stress. Additionally, the large quantity of food that has now become the norm results in a significant expense. From casual conversations, it appears that each family on a team spends at least $50 to $80 for an average coffee hour. Another issue is the fact that despite the efforts of the team to provide plentiful food, the people who come to the table last (usually because they were finishing duties upstairs) often have little left to choose from. Lastly, our coffee hour meals are not completely in line with the normal fasting/feasting schedule of the church. Each one is often such a feast that our actual feast day meals pale in comparison!

Our Goals. With these things in mind, here are the goals we are working toward.

1. Create guidelines for the type and quantity of food for the different seasons of the church year. We don’t want to be so strict as to limit creativity, but have just enough structure to minimize stress as well as adhere to the seasonal guidelines of the church.
2. Create an “HROC Pantry” of staple food items that will be used for meals, such as breads, spreads, chips, crackers, cheeses, beverages, etc. The items can either be donated by parishioners or purchased using money from the donation box (which means we should be a little more direct about requesting donations!). This will reduce the financial burden on the coffee hour teams, and provides a great way for non-coffee hour team folks to contribute to the effort.
3. Adjust the physical setup of the coffee hall and food service. We have moved the beverage service off of the kitchen counter so that the main food items can be served from there, so the coffee hour teams can have some control over the rate of consumption, to ensure that everyone has a chance at a first helping of food. Some items will still be on the food table (especially breads, desserts, fruits, etc.).

Our main goal is that our coffee hour be a continuation of the communion and fellowship that we share during the Divine Liturgy. Yes, we are encouraging a little more modest preparation and consumption of food, but in no way want to diminish the notion that these meals are prepared with love for the enjoyment of all present. Please give me (Susan) any comments you have now or as we continue to develop these ideas!

Monday, February 11, 2008

How to Help our Coffee Hour

The name “Coffee Hour” doesn’t do justice to the meal that we share after Divine Liturgy on Sunday mornings. It would be more rightly called an “Agape Meal,” since it is an extension of the fellowship that we just experienced upstairs. Over the years, our meal has evolved from simple bagels and coffee into a minor feast. Visitors often comment on how wonderful and unique it is.

There are many families who contribute their time and money to providing these meals, and it is done with love for all those who partake. However, these people are being stretched a little thin and we need to ask for more help. If you aren’t already, please consider helping out in one of these ways:

1. Volunteer to be on a Coffee Hour Team. We need more families to participate, if possible. It involves preparing food (either a hot dish, some sandwiches, perhaps some fruit and/or veggies) about once every 7 weeks. The Team also cleans up afterward.

2. Volunteer to help clean. If food preparation isn’t your thing, you can still help to clean up after Coffee Hour. We can add you to a Team so that you would only need to help out once every 7 weeks or so.

3. Put an offering in the “Donation” box. If you are unable to help with food prep, please consider donating some money each week in the wooden box usually located on the food table. This money goes directly toward buying food and supplies for the meals. We are also starting a Team Fund to assist families with buying ingredients/food for the meals. The cost of participating on a Team is a burden on some families who are happy to put in the time to prepare food, but have difficulty fitting it into their budget. Important: please do not take this to mean that you are required to donate money in order to eat! I am only asking people to do what they can to help out. If you are short on cash at the moment, your prayers are always welcome and needed!

Please see Susan Brown if you are able to help out.

Thank you!


P.S. I’ve been asked to do a little review of “Coffee Hour Manners” - just a friendly reminder to help prevent a few problems that crop up from time to time.

1. Please let visitors and elderly parishioners serve themselves first (and help them, if needed).
2. The number of people at church varies so sometimes we have plenty of food, but other times we are a little low. Also, there are many people upstairs cleaning up after Liturgy who come down late (sometimes to an empty table), so please fill your plate lightly your first time through the line. Then come back for seconds once the “upstairs crew” has gotten food!
3. Please review these guidelines with your children and monitor them during Coffee Hour, if necessary.