Tent City 3 Meal Sharing 2023

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SUNDAY EVENINGS, JUNE 18 through SEPTEMBER 3, 2:30–6:30 P.M., Bloedel Hall.

Tent City 3 returned to the cathedral's lower parking lot on June 17, and will be in residence for twelve weeks. While they are here, volunteers from Saint Mark's prepare, serve, and eat a meal with the residents each Sunday evening. Volunteer shifts vary according to task—the earliest volunteers arrive at 3 p.m.; others arrive later. Dinner is served at 6 p.m. and concludes around 7 p.m. New this year are certain Sunday evenings set aside for volunteers from specific ministry groups, such as Creation Care, Queer in Christ, or the 20s/30s group (contact ministry leaders to learn more). But there are still plenty of spots to sign up as an individual as well. If you'd like to participate, contact Deborah Person at deborah.person@gmail.com and she will reply to with available dates.

Please contact co-coordinators Chris Rigos crigos33@gmail.com or Maris Olsen maris.olsen@gmail.com with general questions. Thanks to all!

Week 12 Report (September 3, 2023):

This is the last Sunday that we have the pleasure of serving dinner to our Tent City 3 guests. It was a normal Sunday of serving meals, yet different in that they are soon moving to a location where they will pitch their tents for almost ten consecutive months. We wish them well!

The Kitchen Team, ably and efficiently led by Connor, prepared an excellent meal! It was fitting that they prepared one of our guests’ favorite meals—Momo’s chicken. This is a dish prepared with chicken, apricots, golden raisins, onions, and turmeric spice that fills the kitchen with a mouth-watering aroma! It's served over coconut rice, along with a salad of leafy greens and cherry tomatoes tossed with a vinaigrette dressing, and for dessert—vanilla ice cream with homemade blueberry sauce.

This Sunday, Sandy, having been previously coached by Chris, competently led the Serving Team through the necessary tasks with Chris nearby, but in a relaxed role. Sandy, Nancy, and Andy brought freshly cut flowers from their gardens. Centerpieces were arranged in mason jars and placed on the tables, along with utensils wrapped in napkins and tied with yarn.

We had 25 dinner guests, plus a gentleman who dashed through the doors at the last minute not wanting to miss the food. (He apologized for being late.) As usual, the volunteers dined with our guests, and we boxed up ten clam shells for those unable to attend in-person.

At our table, a woman shared how she often spends her days. She takes the bus down to the Pike Market Senior Center and partakes in breakfast, their lecture series and movies, coffee hours, etc. She encouraged us to go to this wonderful place as they have so much to offer. Nancy, who was also dining with us, mentioned that the Senior Center is a recipient of our second Sunday Hunger Offerings. The presence of the Saint Mark’s community reaches out and blesses this woman and others without them or us really knowing it. This is the gift we are able to give quietly.

Our time with Tent City 3 is ending for 2023, but there are still opportunities to help provide others with meals. The Meal Sharing Ministry is involved with the Saint Martin de Porres Shelter on the waterfront, Teen Feed in the University area, and breakfast at First Covenant Church on Capitol Hill. Find out more by emailing ministry leader Chris Rigos at crigos33@gmail.com or drop by the Meal Sharing Ministry table at the Ministry Fair this Sunday!

Kitchen Team: Connor Harrison, Lead, James Brumbaugh, and Erika Sutkus.

Server Team: Chris Rigos Lead, Sandy Piscitello Lead, Hilary McLeland-Wieser, Andy & Nancy Valaas, John Weintraub, and Jen Younggren

Check out a few photos below. Many more photos from this week, along with reports and photos from previous weeks, can be found here.

—report by Barb Erickson

Check out some photos below:

Week 11 Report (August 27, 2023):

August 27 was the 11th (and penultimate) week of Tent City being in residence at the cathedral, and so also the penultimate dinner prepared and served by the Meal Sharing Ministry and shared with our guests. This week 30 guests were served another fabulous meal of our famous pork and beef meatloaf with tomato sauce, macaroni and cheese, a fine green salad, focaccia bread, and ice cream with blueberry sauce.

Many of our serving volunteers this week were part of the Eat! Play! Love! group. We are so delighted they are sharing a part of their special weekend of community, connection, and creativity with us serving our Tent City guests.

Kitchen Team: Maris Olsen, Lead, Don Argus, Nancy Beadie, Cherie Bradshaw, and Connor Harrison.

Server Team: Chris Rigos, Lead, Mark Stumpf, Lead, Deborah Anderson, Wendy Claire Barrie, Peter Barrie, Erica Dahl, Loy Dahl, John McLaughlin, Emily Meeks and Justin Shelley.

—report by Barb Erickson

Check out some photos below:

Week 10 Report (August 20, 2023):

It was the third Sunday of the month, which means that volunteers helped serve the meal for both St. Martin de Porres and Tent City 3, doubling the work for both the volunteer scheduler and the Kitchen Team. The scheduler made sure all the tasks for preparing, packaging, delivering and serving the meals for both locations. The Kitchen Team prepared enough pans of delicious baked sausage ziti, bowls of tossed green salad with cherry tomatoes, pans of homemade focaccia bread and dishes of vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce to feed everyone.

The volunteers included a contingent of Saint Mark's Vestry members. At St. Martin’s, Peter, Lynne, Ashley, and Barbara delivered and served meals to about 25 residents. It was a pleasant surprise when a gentleman approached us and said that he made a huge pan of homemade stuffing and a pot of green beans with onions to contribute to the meal! In contrast to Tent City, the residents here take their meal back to their rooms versus eating in the common space set up with tables. But just like Tent City, the residents are grateful for the meals served.

Meanwhile back at Bloedel Hall, Christopher Breunig, having previously received training from Chris Rigos, led the Server Team competently on his first solo venture and brought daisies and yellow mums for the flower arrangements.

This was the Vestry’s day to serve the meal and there was a pleasant surprise here too. We shared our dinner in Bloedel Hall with 33 guests, two families, four children, and one dog! The involvement by the families was very refreshing—Kristen’s children, a bit younger, added gaiety to the evening with their presence and the Thompson family stepped right in. Nicole arranged flowers; Rebecca did dishes and tossed the salad with Erika; and both Nicole and Rebecca scooped the ice cream into bowls. Leftover meals were packaged in the clam shells, taped up and delivered to Tent City for those who could not make it to dinner.

Serving meals to two different groups feels twice as good! And having families participate is golden!

Kitchen Team: Connor Harrison, Lead, Erika Sutkus, Kathy Sodergren, and Peter Snyder

St. Martin de Porres Team: Peter Snyder, Lynne Cobb, Barbara Erickson, and Ashley Hedeen

Server Team: Christopher Breunig, Lead, Chris Rigos, Lead, Scott Hulet, Kristen Kelly and her two children, and Alexandra Thompson her husband Alan and daughters Nicole and Rebecca Thompson.

—report by Barb Erickson

Check out some photos below:

Week 9 Report (August 13, 2023):

Volunteers are the heart and soul of the Meal Sharing Ministry. Not not just the Meal Sharing Ministry leads, Deborah and Chris, but the parish volunteers who come and spend their Sunday preparing and serving the meal to our Tent City guests.

This Sunday, Todd and Timothy joined Elaine in the kitchen helping Deborah prepare the delicious tater tot casserole, the vegan alternative (butternut squash quinoa casserole with corn, black beans, and topped with fresh tomatoes and avocado), a fresh green salad with vinaigrette dressing, bread drizzled with warm butter, and vanilla ice cream topped with a choice of chocolate sauce or—new this week—homemade blueberry sauce courtesy of Marc Aubertin.

Meanwhile in Bloedel Hall, Chris was able to relax as Peter took the lead with tonight’s server team. Christopher, Daphne, Penny, Jon, and John ably took on the setting out plates, sanitizing the tables, setting out the yarn-tied utensils, and arranging the bouquets of hydrangeas brought by Penny.

Twenty-six guests came through the Bloedel doors; with the takeout meals and volunteers having dinner, a total of 40 meals were served. And there was still enough food to pack in the clam shells and deliver to the main camp for those who were unable to join us in Bloedel.

There is always something to learn during these gatherings. Bloedel was filled with the buzz of conversation and laughter as the volunteers took turns dining with the guests. Interesting stories were shared, including one about a couple who recently lost everything when a fire broke out in their apartment building. They received assistance but were unable to find housing. They have been welcomed into Tent City 3, but are now left wondering about their mail. How is mail delivered to them, or anyone else experiencing a loss of housing? These are questions we may never have to think about… but amongst their own troubles, our guests are never shy about saying “Thank You” for the food served and the hospitality offered. This is the experience this ministry brings to everyone who volunteers and shares a common meal these Sunday evenings: Grace.

Kitchen Team: Deborah Person, Lead, Todd Baker, Timothy Shore, and Elaine Dondoyano.

Serving Team: Chris Rigos, Lead, Peter Snyder, Lead, Jon Achee, Chris Cabrall, Daphne Rein-Weston, Penny Reid, and John Weintraub.

—report by Barb Erickson

Check out some photos below:

Week 8 Report (August 6, 2023):

Sunday, August 6 was our eighth week of serving a Sunday night dinner to our Tent City 3 guests. A full set of volunteers for the kitchen and serving teams gave up their Sunday afternoon to meet, greet and make our guests feel at home by setting the tables with wrapped utensils and beautiful bouquets of bright yellow flowers.

We had an amazing 35 guests, with hearty appetites that enjoyed our Momo chicken served over coconut rice, a tossed green salad mixed with radishes, green onions, carrots, and dishes of vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce! Our talented cooks prepared enough food for 50 guests, allowing for any leftover food to be delivered to the main camp for those who are unable to attend dinner. This Sunday, our guests continued to come through the door; and just like with the loaves and fishes, we had enough to feed everyone, including the volunteers.

We also learned more about the residents of this small city full of amazing, gifted, and caring people. We see familiar faces each week, but this Sunday was unusual in that many of the former residents had moved on and new residents replaced them. They opted to put their names on a name tag, so this sharing helped us connect further. Tables were filled with guests and volunteers sharing conversation. Things we learned:

  • Two residents wrote grants and received $1500 to purchase new Core tents. These 2-person tents have roofs that are flatter than domed tents allowing the for more standing comfort.
  • They have a row of small pup tents near the front for any late-night arrivals seeking a bed while not disturbing the sleeping residents.
  • The University of Washington donated the decorated screens for the fencing.

Kitchen Team – Maris Olsen, Lead, James Brumbaugh, and Elaine Dondoyano.

Server Team –Chris Rigos and Mark Stumpf, Leads, Todd Baker, Hilary McLeland-Wieser, Heather Millar, Timothy Shore, and Carolyn Woodward.

—report by Barb Erickson

Check out some photos below:

Week 7 Report (July 30, 2023):

This past Sunday, July 30 was week 7 for the Meal Sharing Ministry’s volunteers to prepare, serve, and have a meal with our Tent City 3 guests. And the enthusiasm has not decreased! There was an delightful mix of volunteers—Vestry members who have been active for years at Saint Mark's as well as relatively new members to our Saint Mark's community. There seemed to be a great spirit present at this ministry event.

The menu consisted of homemade meatloaf with tomato sauce, macaroni and cheese, a fresh green salad, and the all-time favorite—vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce. The meal was skillfully prepared with an added touch of good humor by Marc Aubertin, Kitchen Lead, with Jon Achee, Scott Hulet, and Wayne Duncan.

Meanwhile in Bloedel, Chris Rigos, Serving Team Lead welcomed the serving team and reviewed the tasks to be performed. Everyone jumped in to sanitize the tables, tie the utensils and napkins together with compostable colored yarn, and Beatrix Hamm and Lisa Dietrich created beautiful arrangements for the tables. Preparations were ready, the invitation to dinner was extended and Re Knack and Greg Hamm welcomed twenty three guests and our two favorite dogs to dinner!

As is standard procedure, leftover food was packaged up in clamshells and delivered to Tent City for those guests who could not attend the meal in person.

Gratitude for:

Kitchen Team: Marc Aubertin (Kitchen Lead), Jon Achee, and Vestry members Wayne Duncan and Scott Hulet, Senior Warden.

Serving Team: Chris Rigos (Serving Team Lead and Junior Warden on the Vestry), Jen Younggren (Serving coordinator in training), Lisa Dietrich, Matt Dietrich, Beatrix Roemheld-Hamm, and Vestry members Greg Hamm and Re Knack.

—report by Barb Erickson

Check out some photos below:

Week 6 Report (July 23, 2023):

Members of the Creation Care Ministry assisted with both the meal preparation and the various tasks involved with providing our Tent City 3 guests with a family meal setting in Bloedel Hall.

The meal served this Sunday was a particularly favorite comfort food: tater tot casserole or a vegan butternut squash quinoa casserole, a fresh green salad with cherry tomatoes and a healthy serving of vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce—what better dessert for a rather warm evening!

Twenty-three guests, with hearty appetites, joined us for this scrumptious dinner. A good portion of the casseroles were eaten, but there was still enough to pack up in the clamshells for those who were unable to attend in person.

Mealtime includes time for the volunteers to sit with the guests and enjoy the fruits of their labor. It is amazing how easily the conversations flow. Familiar faces begin to greet us each Sunday evening, opening the doors to a wonderful listening opportunity as they begin to share some aspect of who they are.

The volunteers this Sunday were: Deborah Person, Kitchen Lead, Chris Rigos, Server Lead, and Deborah Waddell, a server coordinator in training, along with Creation Care members: Elizabeth Clark-Stern, Mark and Sallie Crotty, Wayne Duncan, Devin Armando Pulliam, Marjorie Ringness, the Rev Edie Weller, and Carolyn White.

—report by Barb Erickson

Check out some photos below:

Week 5 Report (July 16, 2023):

The Meals Sharing Ministry did a lot of sharing this past Sunday evening! Not only did they create a scrumptious meal for Tent City 3, but it was also the Sunday that they prepared an evening meal for the men at the St. Martin de Porres shelter downtown. The kitchen team made double batches of baked sausage Ziti with cheese, beautiful green salads, pans of homemade focaccia bread, and for dessert served vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce (and TC3 received an added treat of chocolate cake from the celebration for the Roasario-Cruz family at morning services).

The sharing continued with the sharing of volunteers. Two members of the Queer in Christ Ministry, Michael Seewer and Tom Wilcox, volunteered to help with TC3, but Michael was called to help St. Martin de Porres instead! The Meals Sharing volunteer team for St. Martin de Porres consisted of Peter Snyder, Michael Seewer, and Dan Tapa. Peter and Michael helped prepare the meal and transported it to St. Martin’s shelter where Dan met them, and they served 30 men a hot dinner with a cool dessert.

Meanwhile back in Bloedel Hall, an intergenerational group of five volunteers—a family of four plus Tom—sanitized the tables, readied the napkins and utensils, set the tables, and creatively arranged red rose bouquets for each table. The food was brought out and the guests were invited to come to dinner.

This is Week 5 of serving dinner and it is nice to see familiar faces among the 29 guests. It was especially heartwarming to watch one of the younger volunteers, Anneka, a member of the Evensong Choir, play the piano with her brother after dinner was over. A TC3 guest who was still enjoying his dinner, joined her and the two began playing. This was an evening of sharing – not only food, but music! Conversation was shared as well, as the volunteers sat down to have dinner with our TC3 guests.

Kitchen Team: Marc Aubertin, Peter Snyder, Kathy Sodergren

St. Martin de Porres Team: Peter Snyder, Michael Seewer‬, Dan Tapa

Tent City Server Team: Chris Rigos, Anneka, Malcolm, Sam Herring and Lynn Noordam, and Tom Wilcox.

—report by Barb Erickson

Here are some photos from the St Martin de Porres team... 

...and here are the photos from the Tent City meal in Bloedel (Click photos to enlarge):

Week 4 Report (July 9, 2023):

This year, the Meal Sharing Ministry has introduced a different way for the parish to engage with the meal service to the Tent City 3 residents. Certain Sunday evenings are set aside for volunteers from specific ministry groups. At this time, five ministry groups have committed to staff six of the Sunday evenings suppers. (Yes, one group is doing two different Sundays.)

July 9 was the first Sunday such a group came to make and serve dinner… and it was the 20s & 30s! Their presence filled the kitchen and Bloedel Hall with conversation and plenty of laughter as they cooked, set the tables with utensils and flowers, greeted the guests, served the meal, and made time to sit down to dine with our guests.

Thirteen guests plus one dog—the dog just shared the space, not the dinner—enjoyed a meal of Momo chicken served over coconut rice, a tossed green salad, a fresh fruit plate, and a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce along with lemonade and a variety of fruit drinks. There was also a vegetarian black bean chili which was packed up in the compostable clamshells and delivered to those who could not attend dinner.

We thank Connor Harrison, Erika Sutkus, Catherine Basl, Whitt Massey, Meshach Padilla, Dawn Thomas, Chris Rigos, Christopher Breunig, Sandy Piscitello, Hilary McLeland-Wieser, and Emily and Stuart Meeks for making time to socialize and be a friend.

—report by Barb Erickson

Click photos to enlarge:

Week 3 Report (July 2, 2023):

Sunday, July 2, brought a team of 11 volunteers together to help prepare and serve a meal, and then connect with our Tent City 3 guests over dinner. We have discovered that these weekly Sunday meals not only feed our guests, but also feeds the spirit of the volunteers. Not only do you build a connection with Tent City residents, but you also expand your connections within Saint Mark’s. This Sunday’s volunteers are parishioners who heard the call to serve and gave up four hours of their Sunday to provide a meal and conversation with our guests and also established connections with each other.

Sunday’s delicious meal was focused on comfort food: homemade beef and pork meatloaf with tomato sauce, macaroni & cheese, a green salad, and ice cream with chocolate sauce—the perfect food for a pre-Fourth of July celebration! The volunteers joined 27 Tent City guests for dinner. To add to the festive feeling, one of the volunteers brought lovely tulips to grace the tables.

After the meal, volunteers cleaned up, packed extra meals into compostable clamshell containers, and delivered them to the TC3 residents who were unable to come to dinner.

Sunday’s intergenerational mix of volunteers included: Marc Aubertin, Connor Harrison, Elaine Dondoyano, Chris Rigos, Peter Snyder, John Weintraub, Ginna Brelsford, Robert Herr, Erica Dahl, Loy Dahl, and Bethany Gordon.

—report by Barb Erickson

Click photos to enlarge:

Week 2 Report (June 25, 2023):

Sunday, June 25, was a full day of other opportunities at Saint Mark’s Cathedral, but twelve volunteers arrived at Bloedel Hall to help provide another nourishing meal for our Tent City 3 friends. The jobs involved in this labor of love are many and varied: in addition to cooking, serving, and cleaning up, volunteers also sanitize the tabletops before and after dinner, wrap the utensils into a napkin and tie with a ribbon, greet our visitors as they arrive, and add their artistic flare with flower arrangements for the tables.

This Sunday’s dinner was a tater tot casserole served with a green salad, home-made focaccia bread and ice cream sundaes for dessert! A scrumptious meal for all 26 guests—plus two dogs! The volunteers are encouraged to dine and socialize with our guests. Learning about each other is another benefit of meal sharing. After the meal, leftovers were packaged up, loaded onto a cart, and delivered to the guests who were unable to attend.

Sunday’s Intergenerational group of volunteers included: Roberta Knave, Mark Stumpf, Maris Olsen, Jen Younggren, Nancy Valaas, Andy Valaas, Ashley Hedeen, Chris Rigos, Dan Tapas, Leah Hair, Erika Sutkus, and Peter Snyder.

—report by Barb Erickson

Click photos to enlarge:

Report on the First Dinner (June 18, 2023):

The Meal Sharing Ministry’s outreach to Tent City 3 began on Saturday, June 17, with the provision of a sack lunch/dinner for those settling into their new space in the Saint Mark’s Cathedral parking area for the summer.

Blessed with the facilities and volunteers to be able to provide a nourishing meal every Sunday evening, the first dinner in Bloedel Hall was offered on June 18. Sunday evening dinners will continue through September 3. Volunteers signed up to cook, serve, greet and just be a friendly face. This meal happened to coincide with the Saint Mark's monthly meal service for Saint Martin de Porres Shelter located on the Seattle waterfront, but the hardworking volunteers were able to prepare and serve both meals.

The dinner was a fine meal of baked sausage ziti, a green salad, home-made focaccia bread, and ice cream with chocolate sauce. The crew had the opportunity to sit at the tables with our 27 guests, share the meal, and socialize. There were plenty of leftovers, and these were packaged up and delivered to the guests who were unable to attend. In addition, various parishioners had answered TC3's request for donations of tents and other supplies, and these were gratefully received by the residents during the dinner.

Sunday's volunteers included Mark Stumpf, Marc Aubertin, Deborah Person, Chris Rigos, Roberta Knave, Kathy Sodergren, Robert Herr, Gina Brelsford, Leah Hair, Erica Sutkus, Elli Howard, John Weintraub, Peter Snyder, James Brumbaugh, and Maris Olsen.

—report by Barb Erickson

Click photos to enlarge:

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