Many of you know me as the “face” of All Are Welcome – Middleboro’s donate-as-able cafe.  I suppose to some degree, that’s true.  The reality is that we have a team of 20 (or so) extremely hard-working, dedicated volunteers who make things happen.  A number of them were friends when we started and a number have become friends along the way.  So, as I handle the administrative stuff, figure out how to make things better and try to keep things rolling along, I want to make sure all those folks who have my back and ensure that All Are Welcome is running know how very much I appreciate all their time and effort.  THANK YOU!!!

I have a friend who starts most days with some pithy commentary on his Facebook page.  A snippet of inspiration, a place to pause and ponder.  The other day he actually told me that I have “a great insight into things and a way of explaining it really well.”  I thought this was ironic, coming from him, considering that his words have been pushing me along for the last few months.  Many who know me know that I tend to keep inside myself, probably too much.  I always feel that I don’t express myself well, especially when emotional situations are involved, and then I erupt.  To use a cooking analogy, like a pot of rice, simmering, covered on the stove.  First there’s a little steam pushing out, then a spatter or two bursts out and finally a fribbling mess all over the stove.

Bear with me while I ramble a little – the last 15 months or so have been pretty rough in my life.  Nothing much on the outside, and I won’t bore you with the details.  But there have been some major life events that have been simmering…and spattering…and last week, on a day at home, where no one saw, the MESS.

When you (more or less) work for yourself, it’s not always easy to take that step back and breathe when there’s stuff to sort out.  But like any mess, you have to start the cleanup process.  And so, it begins.  How does all this relate to a blog about and for All Are Welcome?  Because through the last 15 months when there were many things simmering, All Are Welcome survived.  It hasn’t been perfect but we’re still serving, still getting interest and still seeing new faces!  When there’s a storm swirling all around and something as unique to manage as our little mission comes out on the other side, you know you’ve got a keeper.

This spring / summer, we’ve got some plans, some changes and some in-roads to make on the road to our next major accomplishment.  As you read on, you will see the outline of what’s coming…and in the next few days, there will be more details, updates and interaction.  For those of you who have been along for the ride, thank you again, and we hope you’ll be with us for the next steps in our journey.  For those of you who are just learning about us, we invite you to join us as we move forward into new things!

While our mission is to relieve hunger in our area, community outreach and involvement is always our underlying force.  When people have to choose between food or heat, when those responsible for young people are struggling to put a meal on the table, when those who served our country go without it’s a community problem and affects us all.

Our local food pantries are facing an overwhelming demand.  St. Vincent dePaul, here in Middleboro, serves folks in Middleboro, Lakeville, Carver – and has over 400 registered clients.  That’s a lot of folks who aren’t “making it”.

All Are Welcome has been serving an average of 150 meals per week – we can do more, we WANT to do more.  Summer is coming and kids who get 1 or 2 meals through the schools are going to be home, straining families who rely on those meals to keep those kids fed!  We just survived an epic winter and the homeless shelters and warming centers were bursting at the seams to keep folks safe. The only way AAW can do more for those around us is to grow!

Our next goal is to relocate our mission into a free-standing building.  There. I said it out loud, for everyone to see, read, hear and share. We need our own space!

So here’s how YOU can help move us towards that goal:

SATURDAY, JUNE 20 is a new (hopefully annual!) fundraising event for AAW…the BEANS ‘N’ BREWS Family Fun Day!  We have planned a day for everyone to enjoy – a home brew competition, a chili cook-off, the KIDWAY (carnival games, snacks and prizes), a vendor mall with your favorite Home Party consultants (Tupperware, Thirty-One, Trades of Hope and more), 4 local bands to keep you entertained, and a cook-out hamburger/hotdog lunch!  We’ll be at the KOA campground, Route 44 in Middleboro from 11AM – 6PM with fun for all!  You can find out more details on our BEANS ‘N’ BREWS webpage (including entry forms for chili chefs).

AMAZON SMILE…did you know that Amazon has a charity option?  When you shop through Amazon Smile you can purchase all your goodies like always, but they’ll donate a portion of your purchase back to All Are Welcome!  Hey, you’re already shopping there, why not help us out!  Set your preferences here: Amazon Smile and select All Are Welcome to support us when you shop!

DIRECT DONATIONS: Through our secure webpage you can donate directly to AAW!  We are a registered 501c3 organization so your gifts are tax-deductible!

DINE WITH US!  All Are Welcome is a unique, but full service restaurant (not a soup kitchen or “only” for those in need!).  Join us for a community style meal… For lunch, start with soup or a salad, enjoy a sandwich or the special of the day, side dishes, and dessert! At breakfast we have local eggs (when the chickens cooperate), bacon, sausage, pancakes all the time and there’s always the daily special…fancy French Toasts, omelets, specialty pancakes. We proudly serve Equal Exchange fairly traded coffees & teas, helping others around the globe while we help our own community!

Other things that our friends & guests should know:

  • The Church of Our Saviour will be holding their annual yard sale on Saturday, June 6. We WILL be open for breakfast, so you can enjoy our meal and shop to help our sponsors!
  • We’ve been working to save and upgrade our shared space with a new range hood and fire suppression system. AAW is happy to report that this equipment will be installed at the end of June. The down side is that because this is a major renovation, the restaurant will be closed from June 21 – July 4, reopening for our regular lunch service on Thursday, July 9 at 11AM.
  • A number of our student volunteers will be unavailable for the summer months. We will be inviting volunteers to fill the gaps, please email if you’re interested…for those who’ve previously shown an interest, we’ll be contact you soon!

As I have rambled on for 2  pages now, I am going to close out this missive with THANKS to all our continuing supporters, WELCOME to our new followers,  and HOPE for all who need our mission!

I have (finally) posted the MAY 2015 menu, and June is not far behind!!  Looking forward to seeing you soon!