Agape Community Kitchen

Youth-led mission of The Presbyterian Church in Westfield

 

Due to the health risks posed by the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, Agape Community Kitchen has suspended our usual Wednesday evening dinner program. The decision to suspend service deeply grieves us. We love our neighbors and want everyone to be able to enjoy a hot, nutritious meal in the company of people who love them. On March 25, 2020 we gave our guests $20 gift cards to a local fast food restaurant, anticipating that this may buy them more than one hot meal. If the health crisis continues, we will work to find other creative means to provide a hot meal to our neighbors in Elizabeth.

In the mean time, if you are hungry and you need a meal, we have a few resources we can suggest:

    1. St. Joseph Service Center (118 Division St., Elizabeth) continues to distribute sandwiches daily, Monday – Friday from 9:00-12noon; 1:00-4:00pm and Saturday from 9:00-11:00am.
    2. Meal Distribution is happening every Monday – Saturday from 12:00-2:00pm at two locations in Elizabeth: O’Donnell Dempsey Center (618 Salem Ave, Elizabeth) and Stephen Sampson Center (800 Anna St., Elizabeth).

If you are an Agape volunteer (or want to become one!), we urge you to consider a donation to one of the following agencies, each of which serves our neighbors in Elizabeth and will need our support during these difficult times. If you wish to support Agape more directly, consider participating in the clothing drive (May 17-21, 2020 - just leave your bagged donations in the white church van at PCW during these dates), or you make a donation to Agape online on the church website. These organizations need our help:

    1. The Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless
    2. St. Joseph Social Service Center (they list grocery items you can buy and bring to them, if you can safely get to the store during your regular shopping trips).
    3. The Gateway YMCA
    4. Consider supporting FISH Hospitality Network, an organization you are likely already familiar with as a ministry of Westfield Presbyterian Church. Although they do not directly serve our Agape guests, they serve very vulnerable children and families and will need your support during this time.

What is Agape?

Agape is a Greek word that means love, but not just any love – God’s love. Agape is God’s unconditional love for the world. We express that every week when we open the doors of First Presbyterian Church in Elizabeth and welcome people into a space where they can enjoy a hearty meal in a loving environment.

Since 2000, Agape – as we call it – has been a youth-led mission of our church. We believe it is important to give young people meaningful ways to be in leadership roles through our church. With the support of a team of awesome adults, it is the students who lead the meal service. We value young people and know God does too. You don’t have to be Presbyterian to serve with us, you don’t even have to be Christian, you just have to be willing to show up and show your respect to the community to be a part of Agape.

When & Where

We meet every Wednesday @ 3:15PM in the church parking lot. Transportation is provided to and from Elizabeth. We usually return around 7:30PM.

Registration Form for Students

No RSVP necessary to volunteer, but a registration form must be completed and kept on file for students in grades 6-12.

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Adult Opportunities

We are always looking for adult volunteers – from our congregation, other churches or  groups -  to assist on site and behind the scenes in a variety of ways.

Weekly Coordinators

Coordinators plan the week’s meal, put together the shopping list, send out weekly reminders to the volunteers on the schedule and then lead onsite in the kitchen. Sounds like a lot, but it is simple and rewarding and you’ll have a seasoned Weekly Coordinator help you get started! You won’t be left alone!

Meal Team

Agape serves eight different meals and four different desserts, which are rotated each week. Our meal and dessert teams cook in their homes and deliver the food to our church’s Westfield Kitchen.

Westfield Kitchen Cooks

Every Wednesday two or three adult volunteers finish preparing the meals cooked by our meal teams. They arrive around 1pm and finish by 3pm.

Shoppers

Our shoppers pick up pre-ordered groceries and supplies from Restaurant Depot in Union and deliver those items to our church on Tuesday or Wednesday morning.

Laundry

Our laundry volunteers pick up any dirty aprons and dishrags brought home from Elizabeth each Wednesday, wash them and return them to PCW anytime before the following Wednesday.

Write Grant Proposals

The grant committee develops grant projects, writes proposals and targets businesses for donations of services or merchandise to the mission.

Clothing Closet

The Agape Clothing Closet distributes newly purchased clothing to our guests on the third Wednesday of every month.

If you are interested in supporting the Agape Clothing Closet, you can provide a monetary gift online, through the church office or take part in our Clothing Closet Fundraisers throughout the year.

The closet is overseen by Lisa and Abbey Colao.

FAQ

Can I volunteer at Agape?

We welcome teens in 6th-12th grade. Groups of more than five students must contact our Agape Administrator at agape@westfieldpc.org.

Are there registration forms for students?

If you are a parent/guardian of a student attending Agape for the first time, please complete the Google form. Your information will not be shared. It will only be used for emergency purposes only.

What do I wear to volunteer?

All volunteers: 

  • Please no SHORT shorts (bermuda shorts/capris OK)
  • Wear a shirt with sleeves
  • Wear closed toed shoes
  • If you have long hair, please tie it back. We have hair ties, just in case.
What is your Snow Day policy?

When Westfield town schools are closed due to inclement weather, no youth will be taken onsite to Elizabeth that day.Take-away meals may be prepared at The Presbyterian Church in Westfield at 2:30p.m. by youth (with permission from a parent/guardian) and adults.The adults will hand out take-aways and hot cups of coffee to anyone who comes by for a meal in Elizabeth.

Contact Linnette Cierpial at lcierpial@westfieldpc.org.

Where is First Presbyterian Church in Elizabeth located?

42 Broad St, Elizabeth, NJ 07201 | Get Directions

How can I give to support Agape?

You can give here.

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