Beginning a Beautiful Friendship

This post, by Jeanette Timmons, is on the blog at http://www.princetonumc.org. She wrote it for the newsletter of the Jewish Center of Princeton, honoring the cooperation and support between the congregations:
The Jewish Center has offered support to the Cornerstone Community Kitchen, an outreach program that feeds Princeton area residents a hot dinner every Wednesday evening at the Princeton United Methodist Church. PUMC congregant Larry Apperson conceived and implemented the program in June 2012, which serves 60 meals each week. Currently, TASK delivers the main course and CCK volunteers prepare side dishes and serve the meal in a restaurant-style environment.

TJC congregants Jeanette and Forrest Timmons began volunteering at CCK in August 2012 as part of Forrest’s Hesed project. Jeanette enjoyed the experience so much, she has volunteered weekly ever since. Other TJC families, including the Glassers and Zinders, have since volunteered too.

In August 2013, PUMC began a renovation of its kitchen so that the CCK can prepare its entire weekly meal on-site. TJC offered the use of its dairy kitchen so that CCK could continue its food preparation uninterrupted during the nine-month-long project. While forging this relationship, PUMC donated its 10-burner Vulcan stove with double oven to TJC. This timely act of generosity came just as the oven in TJC’s meat kitchen broke down.

Both guests and volunteers come to CCK’s Wednesday dinners for a variety of reasons, be it need-based, for companionship, or the feeling of camaraderie that pervades the environment. Friendships have formed as many volunteers and guests are regulars. “The greatest unexpected pleasure that’s come from our service has been the coming together of people from throughout the community to serve,” says Apperson. Guests sit at tables decorated with centerpieces, are served by volunteers, and are entertained by a pianist. The relaxed atmosphere invites lively conversation. Besides the dinner meal, bagels, sandwiches, children’s breakfast bags and gently used clothing are available for guests to take home.

The CCK is truly an interfaith, community-wide effort. Besides congregants from TJC and PUMC, CCK has welcomed volunteers and support from Beth Chaim, St. Paul’s, and Queenship of Mary Roman Catholic churches, Quaker Friends, Princeton University, local Girl Scout troops, and the Princeton Historical Society. Local businesses such as Panera and the Bagel Hole regularly donate baked goods, and Zorba’s Brother and the Rocky Hill Tavern have provided an entire meal. For more information about CCK or to get involved, please email cck@princetonumc.org.

Jeanette Timmons

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