B.E.D.S is the acronym for Building Ecumenical Discipleship thru Sheltering and has been a program in the suburbs of Chicago for over two decades. Its goal is to provide a safe, controlled overnight environment for homeless persons who would otherwise spend the night in the elements and without food. The program, which runs from October thru April, is hosted at 7 local churches (a different site each night of the week) and provides a supervised place to sleep (7pm – 7am) and a hearty dinner, breakfast and sack lunch for the following day. Adult volunteers of B.E.D.S. provide supervision, food and laundry service for bedding at each site. See www.bedsplus.org for more program details.St. Mary provides the meal (dinner & breakfast) for the B.E.D.S. program each 4th Thursday of the month at the First United Methodist Church in LaGrange site. Our participation entails preparing hearty meal items, bringing them to the St. Mary Church parking lot (drop off site) & having a driver take all the food items to the site that evening. The food items we prepare are simple favorites like stew, lasagna or chicken and are brought to St. Mary in disposable pans hot and ready to be served. The driver collects all the menu items for that evening and brings them to the church where the B.E.D.S. on-site volunteers serve them.
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“We love being able to make food for this program – we know how important a hearty meal is for those without a home.” (comment from a participant)
“We can always count on St. Mary to provide a good old fashioned, home cooked meal. Many of the items we receive are store bought, but the members at St. Mary always bring their best to us!” (comment from a site coordinator at First United Methodist Church)
“I have met so many wonderful volunteers thru this program. The members at St. Mary call me to sign up for food items and we get to chatting about food and family. I encourage each volunteer to use their own recipes and ‘kitchen flair’ to make the dish the best way they know – no restrictions with how to prepare it – make what you are good at!” (comment from Allison Vollmann, Dinner Coordinator)