Recently, groups from Hoboken Grace had an opportunity to serve at three local nonprofits, which have been long-time partners of Hoboken Grace. We wanted to share the experience of a few people just like you who embody the phrase-
We don’t just live here, we love here!
There are several organizations doing great work around Hoboken. If you want to learn more about the Hoboken Grace partners, you can email email@example.com.
Lunchtime Ministry (LeighEllen Z.)
“If they are asleep, let them sleep, and they can eat when they wake up.” A simple instruction that embodies the non-profit Lunchtime Ministry: a place that provides a warm meal and a peaceful place to spend the morning, striving to treat everyone with dignity and respect.
I recently had the opportunity to serve at Lunchtime Ministry with members of my Dinner Group. When we arrived, one of our first ways to help was to organize the supply room where supplies and various donated items live. As we were organizing, guests came and asked for a variety of items: razors, t-shirts, soap, etc. Right away it became evident how vital the ministry is in providing items for guests that I often take for granted (and how much the organizing helped to make it easier to find the items for guests quickly!)
Later we were able to help serve the meal to guests. During the meal, each guest was handed a plate as they sat at their tables, restaurant style. It stood out as a simple way that members of a community that are often passed by were able to be served and given personal attention.
As I reflected on our time serving, it was especially meaningful to volunteer together with my Dinner Group. Dinner Group is about sharing life together and serving alongside each other allows us to put aside our busy schedules and make new experiences together. Dinner Groups also strive to create community; what better way to do this than to serve together in the community, meet new friends, and be a visible example of God’s love?
If you’d like to see this inspiring ministry firsthand, you can always volunteer at Lunchtime Ministry Monday-Thursday, 8:00AM-12:00PM. You can sign up to volunteer at firstname.lastname@example.org or read more at https://www.stmatthewtrinity.org/lunchtime-ministry. Hope to see you there!
Hoboken Shelter (Sean C.)
This summer, I arranged with Reverend Forbes a day for the Hoboken Grace Partnership Team and members from my dinner group to come out and serve at the Hoboken Shelter. We had six volunteers and spent three hours helping serve dinner, sort and clean the kitchen and pantry, and break down and clean up after dinner.
The shelter has an early and late dinner option for the community, where they feed hundreds of individuals. Did you know the Hoboken Shelter serves over 400 meals a day? Both groups seemed to enjoy the company of our group and we did our best to make sure they were happy with their experience. We were also able to pick up cups and towels that were on the “wishlist” of needs the shelter had at that time. Jake from the shelter helped manage the process and was a great resource for helping our visit’s productivity.
I felt Hoboken Grace and the shelter got a lot out of the experience and would be great to keep it going. It was awesome to hear how one person from my dinner group explained to the rest of our group how fulfilling it was for them the following week.
The Hoboken Shelter is located at 300 Bloomfield Street. You can learn more about their programs and volunteer opportunities by visiting https://www.hobokenshelter.org/.
The Open Door (Megan L.)
Since joining the Partnerships Team I have been learning about and meeting with Hoboken Grace’s local partners. I have been fortunate to be partnered with The Open Door, and recently had the privilege of volunteering at their Thanksgiving Conversation Night. The Open Door provides English, TASC, and computer classes to immigrant families in New York and New Jersey. They hold conversation nights throughout the year for their students to give them a chance to engage further in English conversation and practice what they’ve learned thus far.
This was my first time visiting The Open Door and I was very nervous going into a Conversation Night. I wasn’t sure what to expect and how helpful I would be, being that I don’t speak any Spanish. I went with one other member from the Partnerships team who also does not speak Spanish but could understand well, and also a coworker who speaks Spanish fluently. So we all came into the night with a range of experience.
The night began with a message from the Pastor of the Church that their West New York location is held in and he gave us a message in English and Spanish. From there, we moved to make our plates for the dinner, which was done as a potluck Thanksgiving Dinner, so all the food was provided by members of the Open Door. Once we made our plates, we were divided into groups to engage in our Conversations. We were split up based on the students’ levels, so I was placed with students in a much higher level class while my coworker was placed with students still in the beginning level. The staff provided us with a list of questions to engage the students on. Initially starting the conversation was a little awkward as it took some time to tell where exactly my group’s English was at, however, once the conversation got going I felt as if I didn’t even need to refer to the list. I could tell the students were excited to share their stories and converse in a way they probably don’t get to very often. It was really eye-opening to learn their stories, hearing what brought them to the Open Door and how it has helped them in their lives in America. It was also a great learning experience to figure out how to word my questions and answers in a way they would understand best. Leaving the night I felt as if I built connections with people I wouldn’t have normally thought I could.
The Open Door holds frequent conversation nights for their students and I think it is a wonderful thing to be a part of. Coming from someone who does not speak Spanish, and went into the night quite nervous, there really is someone for everyone to engage with there. They have locations in NY and NJ, you can learn more about them at http://www.theopendoornjny.org/ .