Taking Stock

I am not a big fan of winter. Most of the season, I spend my time wondering why I live in this part of the country. Then I remember three things: Spring, Summer and Fall. This is one of the few areas that has 4 distinct and separate seasons. Sometimes they run into each other…this August has been more Fall than Summer. Mostly, though, each season comes and goes with it’s own characteristics, individual reasons for loving (or hating) and special events and occasions to mark the passing of the year.

A lot of people make their resolutions and promises to change things or do better for themselves or those around them with the start of a new calendar year – January 1. For me, the unofficial start of the school year has always been more of a new start for me than New Years. The new school year – fresh notebooks, new clothes, new classmates and a new teacher or two always seemed like the perfect time to regroup, make plans and turn over a new leaf as the leaves themselves begin to turn. My birthday falls at this time of year too; the first day of school and the anniversary of my birth coincided more than once as I was growing up.

It’s no real surprise to me that as we start September 2014 that I have looked around and realized there are more than a few things to improve, eliminate or begin, both at home and at All Are Welcome.

We’ve already begun some changes at AAW – one of our biggest goals for the last few months is to round out our volunteer team and include more regular team members, offer some much needed time off for the those that have dedicated more than I could or should have expected, and create more opportunity for those who would like to share in our mission. Our regular guests may have already noticed some of the new faces in the dining room and the kitchen!

One of my greatest loves has been sharing food experiences with others. Cooking with ingredients that may be unfamiliar to some, incorporating a larger variety of tastes, and teaching others the joy of preparing food.

As I prepared September’s menu, the focus was on our inventory – staple ingredients that have been waiting for a chance to shine. As we move deeper into the fall, we will be looking for ways to include the new crop of seasonal bounty that New England has to offer. While the food we present will be changing with the seasons, our volunteers will be encouraged to find their place to shine also! Many of them have offered recipes and menu suggestions, some of our student novices, with no kitchen experience will be invited to develop new skills and more will be expanding their knowledge of the restaurant by changing their roles in and out of the kitchen.

We invite you to come taste and try and experience food, share in our community and be a part of our mission. The need for hunger relief efforts exists. There is a new wave of concern and recognition for the hidden problems of poverty and an under served population who are falling into the cracks of the system. We hope everyone finds something through our mission – the chance to serve, a friendly smile, nourishment for body and mind. Come and share the bounty of our tables and the warmth of our community!

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