Few things bring me greater joy than feeding people. My Myer’s Briggs mashup is ESFJ, which labels me as “The Caretaker”. Maybe that’s why I love it. Or maybe it’s because I find joy, community, and comfort through breaking bread with others.
Even fewer things bring me greater joy than feeding college students. College students are really greatful for food. They make me feel like a chef extraordinaire when my meals are B+ at best. Plus they are fun to eat with because they have funny stories to share and they share my love for guacamole.
Last year, I noticed that about 20 college students showed up to setup 3 hours before church, stayed through church, and stayed a few hours after to tear down, all without food. The caretaker in me couldn’t handle it, so I put out a plea for folks to cook for our college volunteers weekly. Can you believe that there are other people who love to cook for others as much as I do? We formed a cooking team of these amazing men and women who cooked remarkable dishes for our college students. They are rockstars.
This year, the cooking team has taken on a new challenge of cooking for not 20 students, but 40 or 60 or 80. We have these monthly events, that include food (of course because there are college students and we all know that college makes you hungry), and our cooking team has made pounds of taco meat and heaps of cookies all semeseter.
Last night was our biggest food team challenge yet: A full-blown family style Christmas dinner (ham, potatoes, corn, mac n cheese, beans, salad, rolls, and desserts) for 120 college students.
And here’s where the story gets good: We did it! This amazing group of people, men and women, younger and more mature, single and married came together and cooked their hearts out for 120 college students.
I wish you could have been there to see it! Dishes started coming in to the church at 5:45. By 6:30 I didn’t know where we were going to put all of the food. I mean, one volunteer made mac n cheese for FIFTY. Another couple made salad for ALL 120 students.
At 6:30, while the students worshipped, about 20 of us volunteer elves set the plates and cutlery, poured drinks, and made sure that food was divied up across the tables. It felt like we were on a show on the food network. We had to get everything ready for 120 hungry students in 30 minutes. As the students were singing Silent Night with candles lit, the elves were sweating and table setting and just as the last notes were played, we finished setting the tables. I was waiting for someone to yell into the mic, time’s up, put your hands up!
And then we feasted and we celebrated the fact that Jesus came to the earth to bring hope, peace, joy, and love through a shared meal.
I love seeing people serve in ways that bring them joy. I love my cooking team! I love that most of them have never met these college students, and yet they want to love and serve them, and they do that by cooking. Thank you so much, cooking team, you are amazing!
Get creative with your service. Find ways to incorporate your loves with your service, it makes serving way more joy-filled!