August Update: Planting Seeds, Serving Weekly, etc.

Dear Friends of Shobi’s Table,

Greetings in the name of Jesus, the Bread of Heaven!

Speaking of bread, I hope all of you had a chance to come by the food truck recently and share lunch with us. If not, please visit soon!

Our new schedule of serving on Thursdays and Fridays is becoming a living pattern that feels grounding and hopeful. We are seeing a slow and steady increase in lunch patrons. Neighbors now recognize the truck and remember when lunch is. We recognize familiar faces, and we’re sure they are spreading the word as we keep seeing new faces. We’re having fun in the kitchen and ending the days both tired and full. 

MenuHere’s our current truck serving schedule—come and join us for lunch!

  • THURSDAY, noon-1pm @ Faith Lutheran – 499 Charles Ave, St Paul
  • FRIDAY, noon-1pm @ Bethlehem in the Midway – 436 Roy St N

I’ve been reflecting how those who work for hunger relief recognize a strong paradox that drives us forward. We wish deeply that there was no need for us to do the work at all—that all had access to enough healthy food in the first place. Then we remember our work of meeting these needs in the moment can plant a seed of mercy, a seed that grows into a quest for justice to break down the systems that allows hunger to remain so prevalent in our communities. God is working in the moment and the forever of each meal, inviting us to join in. 

I wanted to make you aware of a few updates and changes to our website for you to explore and share as you discern how you will continue to support Shobi’s Table.

Here are a few highlights:

1. Volunteers: Under the Volunteer tab, you’ll now find updated information about volunteering in the kitchen and at the truck, as well as a new Volunteer Application and links to our SignUpGenius site. If you’re interested in volunteering, feel free to fill out the application then sign up on SignUpGenius. If you know of someone who is interested, send them the link. https://shobistable.org/volunteer/

2. Dollar-for-Dollar Catering: Under the Give tab, you’ll now find our newest fundraising tool—Dollar-for-Dollar Catering. When you order Shobi’s Table catering, you’ll not only be paying for delicious food for your event, you’ll also pay it forward for another person to receive a from-scratch, nutritious meal free of charge. (Availability is limited, please use the Inquiry Form to reach out to us!) https://shobistable.org/catering/

3. Wish List: Want to give something to Shobi’s Table besides money? We’ve put together a Wish List with items that would be a great help in making our operations run even more smoothly. You’ll find information on where you can buy the items, and how you can get them to us. https://shobistable.org/wish-list/

4. Donating for Lunch: Under the Give tab, you’ll find a button called “Give Now – Pay for Lunch.” When you come to lunch and want to donate, you can pay for lunch by clicking on this link, and we’ll be able to track more easily what money comes in for lunches and what are general donations. 

Other than exploring and sharing our website, make sure you’re following us on Facebook and Instagram! Our Assistant Kitchen Manager Paul Damico-Carper has taken on the management of our social media, and he’s doing a smashing job! 

We are so grateful for all of your continued support as folks have come to volunteer, come to share lunch, given generous donations and your steady prayers. May you know the tangible love of God today and always!

In deep gratitude and joy,

Deacon Kari Alice Olsen
Mission Explorer

Summer Update July 2020

Dear Friends of Shobi’s Table, 

Grace and peace be with you all! My goodness, so much has happened in this past season!  Just like the rest of the world, we have been doing our best to find new ways to respond to the needs arising from the COVID-19 crisis.  I wanted to write to share more and bring you up to date.  In the midst of all the hardships brought about by this strange time, we are also finding the blessings of pushing the reset button, practicing adapting, and reclaiming what we’re all about. 

A few weeks ago, I was handed a lovely yellow rose as payment for a Shobi’s Table lunch in St. Paul’s Frogtown neighborhood.  I’ve heard that yellow roses can symbolize friendship, which is exactly what we want Shobi’s Table to be a catalyst for – it felt like such a gift!  It felt like my heart was held open to all God’s gifts found in the convergence of the table, where food and God’s beloved meet.  That day we were serving  up a from-scratch menu that not only held delicious Greek Garden wraps, Spicy Spuds and Chorizo wraps, and Shortbread cookies with strawberries and cream, but also the dignity of choice and fresh, healthy food.  I began to recognize faces that had come to the truck before.  Neighbors recognized the big blue truck parked in the Faith Lutheran parking lot as a safe place to come and eat.  Each one of us – from customers to staff, were planting and tending the seeds of friendship around the table. We were all being fed in body and spirit. 

According to FeedingAmerica.org, Minnesota is projected to have the second highest projected percent change in food insecurity (FI) rate between 2018 and 2020, due to the COVID-19 crisis.  As more and more people experience food insecurity in our neighborhoods, Shobi’s Table wants to be always ready to walk alongside them, and do what we can to help fill in the gaps.  We’re not doing this just because we believe that we have something that they need.   It is not the “have-nots” who need what the “haves” can provide.  That is a transaction, not a relationship.  We’re doing this because the needs of the community are felt by the community as a whole, and this is our community.   When we recognize that our happiness, health, safety and peace is affected not just by our own circumstances, but by those of the beloved around us, we understand community as the living being we are part of. We need each other, and to quote Paul Wellstone – “We all do better, when we all do better.”  

Since we first started serving again in April, we’ve served nearly 900+ meals, trained in 25 volunteers, and felt the presence of Jesus in every step.  I, and all of the leaders of Shobi’s Table, are so grateful to you for all the ways you have continued to support and be a part of the Shobi’s Table community with your volunteer hours, your financial donations, your prayers, and especially coming to the truck to share lunch with us.  Your continued part in this community is essential to how we can sustain, adapt and grow this ministry of friendship around the table.  

Check out below for a few more details on the updates about how we’ve been adjusting and growing.  Visit shobistable.org and follow us on Facebook for more up to date information, and of course – send me an email if you ever have a question or comment to share. 

In deep gratitude and joy, 

Deacon Kari Alice Ollsen 

A few updates: 

  1. New Serving Site in Frogtown at Faith Lutheran:  On May 21st, we began serving lunch every Thursday in Frogtown.  It grew quickly, and we have a steady line almost every time we come.  We’re so grateful to Pastor Caroline and the community of My Sister’s Mission for helping make it a possibility. 
  2. Serving at Bethlehem Lutheran in the Midway:  In the community uprising for justice for George Floyd, Bethlehem Lutheran (where we normally serve lunch on Fridays) became first a triage medical center then a community aid center, where they served hundreds of households and recruited 1000+ volunteers.  We had the privilege to serve lunch to the large community present there, serving the most lunches we’ve ever served out of the truck in one day – 160.  While it was exciting, our eyes were opened to how much work is needed to be done to rewrite the systems that expose so many to poverty and hunger too quickly.  
  3. New Partnership with Twin Cities Food Justice: In May Shobi’s Table began a new partnership with TCFJ.  They are an organization that rescues food from smaller grocers such as Co-ops, and delivers it to hunger relief organizations – such as us! We are grateful for their work throughout our Cities, and especially grateful when we receive deliveries of beautiful strawberries, peppers, plums and much more! 
  4. New Volunteer Opportunities: With a COVID-19 plan in place, we’ve already welcomed back over 25 volunteers to help out in the kitchen and at the truck!  A huge thank you to all who have come!  We’re still happy to welcome in more!  If you are interested in volunteering, please email me and check out the website for more information and sign ups.  Everyone who works in the kitchen and dish room needs to be trained in our new commercial kitchen space at Christ on Capitol Hill. Right now, trainings are on Wednesdays.  Email me if you’re interested, and we’ll get you signed up. 
  5. New Hire:  We welcomed Paul Damico-Carper as our newest Assistant Kitchen Manager in May.  Paul helps keep the kitchen shifts running smoothly, and is a genuine, gracious and hospitable presence welcoming everyone to the food truck for lunch.  We are so grateful for his presence!