On the Tuesday prior to the second Wednesday of the month, we phone Tom Feagley at Bread of Life to see what food he will have available for Wednesday night. He usually has the meat (ground turkey or hamburg), the lettuce, the tomatoes, the pasta, and the the sauce. We also give a call to Celia or Esther to check their health and availability of the "St. Peter's Girls".
On Tuesday nights, the day before the meal, we shop at BJ's from 5-6 pm for whatever Tom is missing and then we drop the food off at St. Paul's prior to 7 pm. Note that we save the receipts and give them to Martin Rivera the next Sunday for reimbursement.
On the day of the meal we pick up 96 soft bread rolls (if needed) at Piantedosi's Bakery prior to their early morning Wednesday closing at 10 am. Celia, Esther, who start the meal preparations, arrive at around 1:30 pm to chop up the onions and celery and get the meal going, after having picked up the keys to St. Paul's at the Bread of Life offices at 511 Main St. in Malden. This is very near to St. Paul's. Arlene and Russell arrive at around 4 pm, bread in hand, to help finish off the preparation of the meal. Russell finishes the American Chop Suey by adding the meat and spices and the tomato sauce to the onions and celery (which is already cooking when he arrives), and Arlene helps prepare the salad and deserts. At 5 pm, the elbows are cooked and added to the cooking meal. Larry Strace and his Malden Catholic crew arrive around 5 pm to help with the salad. Melanie Smallwood then arrives to help serve the meal, which takes place between 5:30 and 6:30 pm. With all the help the Lord has provided, it is surprisingly easy to serve 100 people a good hot meal. Clean-up is ongoing, but comes to a rapid conclusion at 7 pm, when we all leave. Hopefully a job well done.