One obvious thing to point out is that our review is subjective, so take it for what it is -- one single feedback.
We, THC, have been to Someone Cares Soup Kitchen thrice over the past 2 years, both with reservations of at least 1 month in advance. Mind you, most of us are quite seasoned when it comes to community service due to the regularity of service THC have provided throughout Orange County, so being in a seemingly hectic environment that serves 300 daily has, so far, been chaos free.
Having said that, we'll go ahead and provide Pros and Cons, along with recommendations for those interested in serving.
Consistently Serving (someone cares predates dinosaurs)
Easy Roles (for you newcomers, start by making lemonades)
Difficult Roles (stacking heavies & scrubbing garbage are both great workouts)
Autonomous (assuming you know what you're doing)
Friendly & Orderly Environment
(See video below.)
Job Selections (there are roughly 10-20 different tasks in both dining area and kitchen)
New kids/adults not always given sufficient attention.
Can be difficult for those looking for easy work.
Could get disorderly for those not trained in handling chaos.
Can get dirty for those not used to the environment.
Bear in mind that our team were serving at the rate of approximately once a month up to this point, so it is totally unfair for the average person to take on our attitude. Please feel free to add any other recommendations in the comments area below.
1) Someone Cares is often overbooked so do call them @ 949.548.8861 to reserve a spot, preferably around 2 weeks in advance. There is no set policy here so if you're looking to volunteer last minute, then give it a try.
2) Go in ready to work. As we got seasoned, we naturally became aware of what to do. For those not diverse in their experiences with the service industry, expect the worst and I'm sure you'll come out satisfied.
3) Comfortable Attire - wear something you're willing to discard in the event they get damaged. Someone Cares do not allow open-top shoes (ie. sandals) or sleeveless shirts, and kitchen floors can get slippery so definitely wear something that'll mitigate that problem. I walked away both times without any problems to our clothes, but it only takes one freak accident for you to regret you ignored this recommendation.
4) Ask Questions. Google any questions you may have. Asking questions online prior to arriving helps prepare you for the inevitable anxieties -- assuming you are not a seasoned volunteer. There are plenty of tasks involved and a freakish amount of heads to manage, so if you are to expect one thing -- let that that be chaos.
Other questions you may want to ask is "are you there to create problems for others, or are you there to help resolve them should they occur?" Humbly speaking, there are problems in everyday life, and if you are spewing out negative energy then realize that you are the problem. We all do it, but the ones that acknowledge and embrace them, tend to be the ones walking away with the pleasant experience.
5) Bring attention to your breath upon arriving. Being breath-conscious is a powerful process that helps alleviate chaos from almost every setting, therefore one should look to attain a calm and relaxed state of mind before beginning any tasks. Every system has its pace, and a simple breath certainly improves flow control and allow for better pace synchronization. Soon enough, gaps, holes and other empty spaces will avail themselves to you.
6) Now that you have sunken into the spirit of the kitchen, take note of all the dirty and difficult jobs. Those are the ones that tend to be more vacant than others, which is usually the first place you should go. Why? Because the more discomfort you take on, the more comfort you invite. This is the balances of opposites you often hear. However, if you are one whom are only fitted for lighter tasks, then certainly ask in advance so that organized instructions could be provided to you. There is no such thing as a stupid role, so feel free to select tasks that best suits you.
7) For those completely new and unfit for quasi bootcamp-type leadership, then start by purely observing. Take the time to observe everyone's pace, especially Lolo's (headchef). LOLO has always been cool with providing straight-shot instructions, and more often than not, have treated everyone of us with utmost professionalism. Just bear in mind that you are in a kitchen with 20 other beings, so do your best to take patience in her and I'm sure you'll get the same love in return. In our humble opinion, she's the coolest gal to work with of all the locations we've served at, but all opinions are subjective, so take ours' with a grain of salt.
Worth repeating, Someone Cares Soup Kitchen is a hectic environment, and most certainly not an easy camp to jive with for newcomers. However, if you continue to build on the above's recommendation, mark our words, you will FIND YOUR GROOVE!
Well, that's all we really gotz to recommend for now. Again, a big shout out to Laurie (aka Lolo) for having been a great and wonderful spirit to work for this past 2-3 events. Thank you, and God Bless.
Hope that Helps Y'alls,