Hi to everyone,
Another successful weekend feeding our 47 guests.  I want to start out by saying I know that some of these things can be such a family event.  You may have signed up but there may be a different family member that shops, or bakes, or delivers.  Even if I don't name them here, please pass along our thanks. So, you know how this goes.  We start with a menu idea and then a small group of, I don't know, maybe a dozen or two shoppers, a dozen or so bakers/cooks, two to three dozen on-site volunteers, four off-site volunteers, help pull our less than 16-hour event together.  All these people have a piece of what makes our weekend work so well.  At this time, I need to pass along that we are complimented every month we have been at Medinah Baptist, noting what a dedicated group of people and program we have. How can you not agree with that?
I actually got the shopping list to Nora Hipskind closer to when it should be in her hands.  She gets it posted and sent out to her shoppers, who I think it was record time, filled all the slots of what needed to be purchased.  I know the details of the items may seem unusual or too specific, but those are all part of the quantities and ingredients of the meal we have planned.  George is our master-checker of grocery items, a few times prior to the transport of food items on Saturday.  That time is well-spent because Saturday evening is not when you want to find out we still have to go shopping.  Thank you to Keith Wolfe for helping to load the groceries and travel with George and I.  We are met at Medinah with their support team of Vito, Caryn, Rick, 'E'thel, and Magen.  The kitchen is filled with the basics we need for our time there and the portable walls/tables are set up in no time.
The guests enjoyed a wonderful, semi-tradional, St Patrick's meal.  First, a thank you to my cole slaw contributors, Julie Condron, Gail Crowley and Monica Ortiz.  That went over much better than trying to serve warm cabbage-wedges, just a different form.  Learned my lesson from previous year(s).  Next, thank you to all the Irish soda bread contributors, Margaret Maher, Karen Crum, Eileen Backman, Christine Loewer, Jeanne Warp, Regina Hughes, Angelina Zotta, Mary Gnadt.  There was a beautiful bowl of all the different shapes and forms of the bread.  For whatever reason, it started out slow on the taking, but by dessert time, they continued to come back for the bread along with their dessert.  Thank you.  We boiled potatoes and cooked carrots to help round out the meal.  The highlight of the meal was barbeque corned beef smoked/cooked by Barbeque Jim himself.  He kindly donated his bbq mustard and hot horseradish to go with, which the guests used in place of the hot sauce they love so much.  That's a compliment.  I have to remember to pass along the compliments to Jim, because for whatever reason, the guests think I cooked.  They have no idea how far that is from the truth.  
Dessert consisted of Colleen McKiernan's cookies (I wonder if she gives out her recipe?) which the guests look for as the variety platters of breads, mini cupcakes, donut holes come out for their late-night sweet tooth.
Thank you to the trio of Don Gimbel, Lynne Healy and Tom Hill who took care of chaperoning the overnight hours, taking us into Sunday.  Another snowy night for their travels, so it was much appreciated.
The early Sunday morning shift, 1 - 5a, brought Charlie Paape and Vytas Bradunas, to finish the chaperoning, help wake early risers, and make the tuna lunches for our guests to take with them as they leave at 7a.  Thanks for having everything ready for the next shift, and welcome back to both of you.
The breakfast crew comes in at 5a and we make the same menu each month.  We don't mess around with what works.  Patrick Savage, Gary Cirone, Mary Lynn and Ray Pollastrini, Lyn and Isaac Nunez, along with Jim and myself, have one hour before serving at 6a.  Scrambled eggs, plain and with onion/green pepper, bacon, hash brown patties, oatmeal with toppings, cold cereal, toast, fruit, juices and the much anticipated regular coffee are always part of the line-up.  During the week I though maybe we were done making hot oatmeal, but Ray is the master of calculating what we need.  And it turned out to be a good thing with the weather.
While we are still serving, Brian Hayes along with Julie, Connor and Mike Kopp quietly come in and start working on the clean-up of all pads, laundry, towels.  It is a pleasure to see all of them because they help get it done, efficiently.  The whole event is over about the same time, car loaded with laundry/recycling and miscellanous.  Thank you for hauling to the car.
Our next rounds are to drop off the laundering to the Pakenas home (towels from every aspect, showers/cleaning/kitchen) and to Ron Shaw (bedding/pillowcases) to make the drive for us on Monday am. to Central DuPage Hospital that take care of the bulkier items and quantities.  Thank you for taking this on.    Somehow your Sunday mornings, once a month, might have you wondering how you ended up waking up to all of this.
If we have forgotten anyone, we apologize.  That was not intentional.  And did you notice I made that plural?  George really should not be held accountable for what comes from my short-comings.  Just know that we thank each of you for the part you play.  A special note to Sara, who has worked the dinner shift for as long as I know and could run that shift better than George and I.  Congratulations to Sara on the birth of her son, Xavier, and hope he continues to grow strong.  
A final quick note/story about why we do what we do.  And when we want to complain about whatever.......we had some late arrivals coming last night to Medinah Baptist in Roselle from the church here in Elmhurst, Spring and St Charles Rds. Not sure if that church was at its capacity, but they were coming to us at Medinah. Because there is no shuttle available from one PADS site to another:  these two people had to walk to the Elmhurst train station in Elmhurst, take the train into the city to catch the correct train line back to the Roselle train station and then walk to the Medinah Baptist.  I saw these gentlemen at breakfast and they had finally arrived around 1a.   What is wrong with this picture?  5 - 6 hours for a 15-minute commute?  To shop/cook/serve/clean-up seems so simple!!
George, Marybeth