St. Francis House’s ‘Chef’s Night Out’ helps feed those in need

By Courtney Cox |
The St. Francis House located in St. Augustine, Florida, provides housing, crisis and essential services to families and individuals in St. Johns County. On Oct. 4, Flagler College volunteers and community members gathered at 4 p.m. to prepare and serve a meal to those in need.
The environment is a welcoming one, and in order to keep a judge-free space photos are not allowed to be taken of the residents who dine here. Many of them came hungry and left hopeful.
This is the first “Chefs Night Out” that will become a monthly routine for the Flagler College Volunteers, sophomore Lindsay Gilliam said. Gilliam, the coordinator of the event, said that the meals she plans for the occasions are funded by Student Activities.
Tonight, tacos are on the menu. Flagler student volunteers worked together to prepare a taco dinner for those in need.
“I can’t think of anything better to do,” said Rusty Kerver, the kitchen manager. Kerver was homeless before working at the St. Francis House and said that being homeless was what inspired him to give back.
Gilliam logs the hours of all the volunteers in attendance. Whoever has the most hours in the month will receive recognition, Gilliam said.
Bicycle racks are directly next to the St. Francis House. Families came by foot pushing their children in strollers while others rode their bikes.
“You know there’s something you can do about it, so why not just do it,” said Zach Rupp, a freshman at Flagler College.
A hungry stray cat makes an appearance at “Chef’s Night Out.” It found plenty of table scraps, some left for it on purpose and some by accident.
“By us serving them, we just bring together a community of people,” Gilliam said.
There are a lot of scammers out there, case manager Denise LaBerge, said. People need to think more with their heads than with their hearts when talking to them, she said.
Marianne Wareham, part of the direct care staff, said that she’s always had a heart for the oppressed. “It renews my gratitude for what I do have,” she said.
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