The Lunch To Go mission is to serve our community by making sandwiches and cookies and delivering them to the residents of the Union County Community Shelter and to Mel’s Diner, thus allowing our parishioners to express the love of Christ by feeding the hungry throughout the communities of Union and Mecklenburg Counties.

Description of agency served: Union County Community Shelter is located in downtown Monroe. The shelter only accepts residents who are drug and alcohol free, and requires that residents hold or be seeking employment. The shelter helps residents locate jobs and interview, provides transportation to jobs, training, and schools, and establishes savings accounts for residents. They also provide college-accredited courses in finances, behavioral health, life skills and employment. They have a great success rate — nearly all residents who stay in the shelter 30 days or more obtain a job and housing. Less than 6% return to the shelter after leaving. All of the shelter employees, except the director, are former residents. This is truly a “hand up” for those in need.

Before July 2004, the Monroe shelter was open at night and served breakfast, but the residents had to leave during the day and no lunch was offered. Don, the shelter’s director at the time, wanted to open the shelter during the day, and budgeted for July, 2005. However, the Lunch to Go Ministry gave Don the extra financial bump he needed, and in July 2004, the shelter started operating 24/7 — one full year ahead of schedule. Now shelter residents are able to gain employment in second and third shift jobs, opening up employment to more residents.

The shelter serves an average of 20 residents at at time, serving over 300 per year. They also provide breakfast and dinner to anyone hungry in the community, to the tune of 30,000 meals each year. For more information, visit http://www.unionshelter.org.

Mel’s Diner is a St. Matthew ministry that feeds the hungry in Mecklenburg County. Visit www.mels-diner.com.

Volunteer Opportunities

Ministry leader is needed.

Sandwich and cookie makers are scheduled every other month, with some choosing to volunteer every month. Volunteers make approximately 40 sandwiches and drop them off at St. Matthew or at Duke Oxford’s garage for Mel’s Diner. Bakers prepare two dozen cookies every other month for church drop off. Schedules are sent monthly by email.

Drivers serve approximately once every six weeks, picking up labeled sandwiches and cookies from St. Matthew’s Lunch To Go designated refrigerator and delivering them to Union County Homeless Shelter (usually four bags). Sandwiches are delivered Tuesdays and Thursdays. Cookies are delivered only on Thursdays. Schedules covering two months are sent by email. Some drivers choose to make sandwiches as well as deliver them.

Time Commitment

Approximately one and a half hours for food prep and delivery to St. Matthew.

UCCS is about 19 miles from St. Matthew, so pick up and delivery takes about two hours.

New to volunteering at St. Matthew? Please read our Safe Environment Policy.