Posted by: David Stewart | November 2, 2011

Having a Greener Dinner

Like a lot of married couples, my wife and I often exchange scheduling information about upcoming events and commitments. This information can come in casual comments over dinner, email or phone conversations. And as much as I try to be attentive, I confess that I don’t always do a good job remembering these things.

So when Deb reminded me that we had committed to serving dinner at a local homeless shelter on a recent Friday night, it wasn’t too surprising that I had forgotten about it.

It’s been quite a few years since I had helped with this, so I was a little nervous. I shouldn’t have been, of course. The Portland Rescue Mission has a terrific setup to make sure volunteers are able to step in and make the whole experience very positive.

One of the nice surprises is that they have gone green. There is virtually no need to collect any trash. Everything from plates to utensils to cups and glasses are washed after the meal, and any other waste is compostable. 

It’s possible that one of the guests might bring in something which isn’t compostable. So you still need to be able to collect and dispose of trash. But virtually nothing that the Rescue Mission serves needs to have a trash collection. This is extremely powerful, and I suspect it’s quite cost-effective as well.

The guests were all really appreciative – apparently the night before, a local television station (KOIN in Portland) had arrived as a group and donated a bunch of food and volunteer manpower for the dinner. So the guests felt like they had been treated really well, and their feeling was still very strong for the volunteers and the rescue mission.

What a great way to serve our neighbors in a way that they appreciate. And how great that it’s greener!

If you want to volunteer or give them money, the best way might be to ask your employer or non-profit group to work with the Rescue Mission and help out as well.

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