The kitchen at SELF Inc.’s Outley House Men’s Shelter is amazingly productive: a virtual wellspring of nutritious meals for the nine emergency shelters operated by SELF Inc. throughout the City. “We provide over 180,000 meals a year for our residents, plus more than 12,000 people who overnight with us during Code Blue periods,” indicated the hefty Ricky Hill, Food Service Manager for the organization.
From time to time, however, volunteers come in to provide special lunches and dinners for the men at Outley (and a welcome break for the Outley kitchen crew). Saturday, November 30 was a good example of this outside help.
Early in the morning, a team showed up from Wayne Presbyterian Church to rustle up a filling mid-day burger lunch. Following the State’s food handling procedures to the letter, the group under the leadership of Richard Smith, mixed ground meat with catsup, relish, garlic, mustard, tomatoes, mixed vegetables and special sauce for spicy spoon burgers, augmented by corn, salad, and desert. With Wayne church members Carmela Curatola, and Linda, Bill and Carl Nirmaier lending a hand, the end result was a delicious lunch for 100 or so Outley residents – with plenty of seconds!
“Delicious! Can we have thirds? Thanks so much! This is terrific!” were the typical expressions as the Outley men passed down the serving line. Smith is the spark plug of these volunteer efforts which occur on Saturdays following 5-6 major holidays each year. Usually accompanied by the capable Carmela Curatola, a computer instructor in real life, Smith has organized, prepared, and underwritten the meals for almost a decade, following retirement as a schoolteacher for nearly 40 years.
This was the first go-around for the Nirmaiers. No strangers to hard work, dad Bill is an executive with a catalytic converter chemical manufacturer in Wayne; Linda taught school in Haverford for 30 years; and Carl is a senior and football tackle at Penn State where he is studying Chemistry.
Mid-afternoon the same day, another group of members from Southwest Philly Church of the Nazarene located directly across the street on Woodland Avenue was undertaking their maiden try by preparing dinner for the Outley men.
Alongside the Outley volunteers, Chef Hill and assistant Robert Green were busy preparing the lunches and dinners for distribution to the eight other Self Inc. shelters, including its new Ife Wellness Center which caters to people recovering from various societal and personal challenges.
To join the Wayne group in the holiday meal preparation, drop an Email to firstname.lastname@example.org
To investigate other volunteer opportunities at the Outley kitchen, contact Chef Hill at email@example.com