We've been so busy here at SF CARES I haven't had a chance to update this blog recently. I'll write a post soon to let you know the cool new things we've been getting up to, but today I want to highlight one of our tried and true services, The Friendship Banquet.
Every Tuesday at 4:00 (excluding the first Tuesday of each month) the Friendship Banquet serves a meal that really does feel friendly. Nice table cloths and cloth napkins on round tables that seat eight or ten. Real plates and glasses. A fresh cooked meal served in four courses to each of fifty or so guests at the tables in St. Mark’s social hall. Each person greeted warmly at the door. Everyone who has a reservation is also living with HIV and living on the margins.
The banquet began in 1991 but suffered a hiatus between 2005 and 2010. Phillip who revived the banquet in 2010 says, “Our guests are people suffering from HIV and their families who are living in difficult financial situations. Each Tuesday at 4pm we provide a fresh cooked meal served restaurant style to about 50 people on average . . . .Our guests spend their time waiting at the doctor’s office, the hospital, GA or Social Security offices, the Food Bank, or on the local bus system. The Friendship Banquet provides a time for our guests to be waited upon by our volunteers in a safe, supportive and loving atmosphere, a true change in routine.”
Many different churches and groups take turns on different Tuesdays to provide the food and prepare and serve the meal. These days Jordan is in charge of the Banquet. He is there to guide groups in the meal preparation and serving. The regular crew handles set up and takes care of the dishes afterward so the group providing the food is usually only there for an hour or two of prep and then about an hour of serving.
We have quite a few dates available as we move through spring and into the summer; May 15th and 22nd, June 12th and 19th, July 17th, and August 21st and 28th all need hosts. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know which date will work for your group. Financial support to help us buy food when we do not have a group to cover is also appreciated.