Hotel de Zink is a shelter program of InnVision, formerly The Urban Ministry. It serves 12-18 homeless men and women who are working to achieve stable housing. Twelve churches and synagogues in Palo Alto make a direct impact on housing by opening their doors to these men and women. September is our turn in the rotation. We provide dinner each night, a safe space for sleeping and showers. In addition to the food and help that we give, we need milk, lunch supplies and other sundries, which we buy. The money raised in the Sunday offering during September helps provide for this.
The meals need to feed about 15 or 16 people, allow however only medium portions for most because of the late hour. Plain tasty casseroles work (note that two casseroles are needed), or meals with meat such as chicken or ham and vegetables along with a starch such as scalloped potatoes or noodles in a nice creamy sauce. Anything your family likes is fine, but err a little on the comfort food side.
They eat some vegetables, but in very small servings. Some resident members like salads. Hearty green salads that have vegetables such as onions, tomatoes, avocados, or hard boiled eggs go over well. Plain greens are less popular. Ranch dressing is a favorite.
French bread does not get eaten much; some softer sliced bread can be used later for sandwiches if not eaten for dinner. (They make a lunch to take with them when possible.) Desserts that can be used also for lunch (good cookies, moist non-layered cake) are fine but not necessary. Fruit that is not hard to chew (like grapes) are nice but not necessary with the meal.
We can ask snack contributors for these extras. We always need whole milk, not nonfat or low fat milk. Juice is also a very popular addition. Please don’t bring gallon containers of juice — they do not fit in the refrigerator because we often have about three gallons of milk to store.
Take out is great if you’re up to the cost. KFC is a favorite but pricey if you provide enough for each resident to have a serving. Pizza is also good, but again you need to plan on enough and provide some variety. One way to spread the cost is to share with two other people and get three large pizzas for one night; perhaps a fourth person could provide a homemade salad. You can't beat roast chickens with a carbohydrate like rice or macaroni and a salad. This is also pricey if you get store-cooked chicken; home-cooked is cheaper if a bit more trouble. Any of the takeout ideas can be shared with another person or two.
The contributed meal helps us most if it is delivered hot at nine p.m. However if you can’t deliver it at night, you may leave it in the refrigerator on the right of the two in the kitchen, near the kitchen door and between the two sinks. Please be sure to write reheat next to your name when you sign up so that Rachel comes early that night to reheat it. It helps to write “de Zink” and date it when you leave any food.
The most needed help is a dinner. However those who can’t do that and want to help can bring cookies or lunch meat for sandwiches. Date the contribution and put the perishables in the refrigerator. Homemade sandwiches have to be eaten up soon to be good, but this can be helpful. Wrap them and label them. (e.g., Ham and Cheese with mustard or Turkey and Cheese) They have a supply of peanut butter and get lots of that, so something else would be very much appreciated. Remember that it is going to be in a backpack unrefrigerated, so go easy on the mayo and please do not bring tuna. Let me know (or write it on the chart) if you are bringing pre-made sandwiches because only one such offering at a time is useful.
Your contribution is greatly appreciated and will work its magic in the hearts of those who receive it. A true gift of love.