Sunset Members Provide Dinner for Men Leaving the Streets

Members of Sunset Christian Fellowship (Beaverton, Ore.) go to the Clark Center in downtown Portland each month to feed approximately 100 men who used to be homeless but are now on track for life off the streets. The money needed to buy supplies for the monthly dinner is collected by children every Sabbath during the offering.

After fighting through rush-hour traffic, the group arrives at the center and unloads supplies for the meal, often with help from the men at the center.

Once situated in the industrial sized kitchen, the preparing starts. What would you make for 80–100 hungry men? The answer is what any respectable Adventist group would make: haystacks. Since the men only stay at the center about 90 days, the repetition isn't an issue, plus haystacks are easy to prepare.

Members dive into the tasks of cutting lettuce, dicing tomatoes, cooking the beans, chopping onions, opening containers of sour cream and cheese, getting plates out of the cupboard, crunching chips, making and pouring juice, cutting the cake and generally sharing a good time.

Then the real fun begins as the group serves the meal. First, they dish up "late plates" for men not yet returned from work. Then the line of men starts going through. If a man asks for "everything" on his haystack, a festive cheer erupts from the servers. The biggest issue is how many beans spill on the edge of the plates. The person who serves the beans gets teased all night if there is “sloppage."

After all the men are served, the servers enjoy the leftovers while chatting with each other and with the men, sometimes even watching television together. They leave amid cheers from the men they just fed.

April 01, 2004 / Oregon Conference