The Community Café is an outreach mission of the Living Faith United Methodist Church located at 53 Grove Street in Putnam, CT. The primary goal is to build a thriving and diverse community family of people from all walks of life. To build a diverse family, all members of the community are invited to enjoy a free buffet style meal to nourish the body and warm the soul.
The Community Café is open every Friday from 11:30 to 1 pm. in the church fellowship hall located in the downstairs of the church building with entrance from Bradley Street.
The demographics of our visitors closely reflects our vision of diversity in both needs and life experiences. Some of our current visitors are members of the community that are truly in need of a nutritious meal. Several of these visitors appear to be homeless and most appear to be living at or below the poverty level. Their age levels vary from the mid-twenties to seniors and they represent all walks of life.
The majority of our visitors are elder members of the community that come primarily for the social benefits that the Community Café provides. However, their need to live within fixed incomes during difficult times can not be discounted and the Community Café has been a twofold blessing for many of them.
We still draw visitors from the mid and upper economic levels of the neighborhood and the community as many friends and supporters come to lend their support to the program. The interaction between professional members of our community with those they would not normally meet socially and getting to know each other as individuals is an important part of this ministry. It is quite inspiring to see people from entirely different places in life, engaged in conversation and enjoying a meal together.
Our Volunteers Make The Difference.
If there has been one thing that has inspired us the most about the Community Café program it has been the number of dedicated volunteers that the program has drawn from all areas of the community.
What began with a small group of caring people from within the LFUMC congregation has blossomed into a small company of volunteers that come from the community at large. Many are regulars that can be counted on to show up every week, many schedule their time as it is available.
Some of our volunteers are from local church communities, some are unaffiliated with any religious congregation, and most come from the greater Putnam area, all of them demonstrate a true desire to support their brothers and sisters in the community.
Our volunteers begin planning the next meal before the pots and pans are clean on Friday. Several start their week shopping and picking up donated goods. Several more start by setting the room on Thursday afternoon and prepping the kitchen for Friday morning. Its not uncommon for our volunteers to be in the kitchen all day on Thursday as some of our entrees have long cooking cycles.
They are in early on Fridays to start the show and it’s a non-stop 6-7 hours later before the kitchen floor gets mopped.
When you think of the good work that the Community Café is doing, think of our volunteers; without them, none of this would be possible.
A Testimony from our Community Café Chef
Christine Castonguay (AKA Chris to her team or Chef to our guests) was invited to play cards with the girls on Monday evenings and Friday mornings. One day during the card session a sign-up sheet was passed around asking for Community Café helpers. Since the loss of her husband Chris needed something to fill the void in her life so she signed up. In her own words:
“I thought what have I got to lose? If I don’t like it I don’t have to go back. Well I fell in love with this church mission. In the beginning I was making soup or helping with sandwiches and then I would go upstairs and play cards. Then one day about a year and 1/2 later I was asked if I wanted to take over and run the whole thing. Can you guess? I jumped at the chance! It has now been almost two years. The Pastor always says how good the food is and suggests that I open a restaurant. So, I finally answered with Pastor Bob I don’t need to open a restaurant I already have one!
I feel God has called me to share my passion for cooking at Community Café. I love what I do and I love the folks that come and dine with us. This is my gift to them!
Hunger is not a choice. Giving is. Make your donation today.
Together we can make a difference.