Ann Gamboa, a California Associate, leads the kitchen crew for Sharing God’s Bounty, a served dinner once a week for the last 35 years. This is housed at St. Philomene Parish in Sacramento where our sisters served for almost 40 years. She succeeds two other associates, Jackie Lane and Jeannie Bastion, in this incredible service of love. Ann puts so much love into the food she serves – this week barbecued chicken, salad, peaches, yogurt and a variety of desserts.
I watched Ann as she set up the operation for her kitchen crew, first plates in position, then the large tubs of salad and peaches. Serving spoons and specific volunteer assignments came next. Meanwhile Roy Bastion, husband of Associate Jeannie who died this spring, was in charge of the oven and pans full of chicken. Volunteers stood along the assembly line filling plates and passing them to the servers who delivered them to the guests. Greeters for the guests mingled in the dining area welcoming guests and showing them to tables, checking on their comfort, directing them to services if they were interested in bread, books or toiletries. Other team members cleared tables, scraped plates, washed and dried dishes as the evening progressed. Meanwhile Ann had her eye on it all making sure nothing was rushed but everything was done well.
During the year students from various high school help with the serving – as many as 50 each week. But this summer night there were only about 10 students and 15 or so adults present and ready to serve. Among them was an energetic young woman pictured above with Ann.