Helping feed the homeless with just a little bit of time and cash and creativity
November 2, 2011 12:05 PM Subscribe
Other than chili and spaghetti, what can I make in mass quantity that requires not much $$$, time or ingredients? If it's warm food, how do I keep it warm when it won't be served for at least another 90 minutes in an open parking lot, at night, where there is no electricity and it's freezing cold? Yes, it's to feed the homeless.
posted by HeyAllie to food & drink (35 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Last night I volunteered for the first time to help feed the homeless in a nearby city. It was an amazing experience I'd like to do again. Because it was a spur of the moment decision and I live an hour away, I decided to just bring butter and rolls this time. Other volunteers brought rice, chicken stew, and fruit cocktail, but next time, I'd like to bring something a bit heartier, and with winter coming on, a dish that would be served hot would probably be very welcome.
A little more info: there is a sort of ragtag group of volunteers who come down on their own almost every night to a parking lot which is surrounded by homeless shelters around 7 pm. Apparently, one couple tries to make a hot main dish (using some food donated by restaurants and shops), while other volunteers usually bring sides (pasta dishes, for example) that supplement the main dish. The deal is that you make or buy the food and serve it yourself. Sometimes there is just that couple, but sometimes there are 4, 5 or 10 other volunteers who come and help out. Since this is not an organized nonprofit, just real people helping others out, they never know how much food or volunteers arrive every night.
Sometimes there are 100 people to feed, sometimes there are hundreds of people waiting for the food.
Since I live an hour away, I would love your ideas on something I can easily make in advance. Keep in mind the following caveats:
1) I'm not a great cook - 5 ingredients or less would be great.
2) I'd like to keep my budget around $20-$30 for each time I do this. I could spend more $$$, but would be able to do it less often.
3) Chile and spaghetti are often served, so I'm trying to think of other options to mix it up a bit.
4) It's got to be a dish I can easily and quickly ladle out into a small cup or bowl.
Also, any tricks to keeping the dishes warm if all I've got is a cooler to store them in during the drive over and the setting up? There is no electricity set up so I can't plug in a crock pot or anything like that to keep it warm.