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UUS Free Lunch: Feeding our Community Members

By Vicki Siefers

On Friday, April 12, 18 UUs rotated off and on shifts preparing gourmet macaroni and cheese and chopping vegetables and fruit for salads.  More volunteers showed up with donations of greens, fruit, and desserts.  These are some of the volunteers (sorry if I missed you): Frank Wildensee, Virginia and John Stamler, Laurie Cubit, Gene McCracken, Joy Thompson, Carolyn Johnson, Barb Haring, Theresa Ullrich, Gare Calhoun, Joe Rasmussen, Chris Smith, Gay Mikelson, Terri O’Berry, Janet McKee, Carrie Z Norton, and John Elson.

Sharon Booker, Bonnie Penno, and Pete Brokow donated food. 113 diners were served and at least 15 carry-out containers were loaded. There was not one bite of food left! A good time was had by all in the kitchen, and many diners were thankful for the hearty and healthy meal.

The cornerstone of the Free Lunch Program is, “an open door, a full plate and no questions asked.” A hot meal is served six days a week at 1105 S. Gilbert Court, Iowa City. Since 1986, UUS has provided the Free Lunch meal on the second Friday of every month to about 110 guests. 

The group is lead by Bob Littlehale, Frank Wildensee, and Vicki Siefers.  There are 4 shifts available for volunteers to choose from:

  • A hot meal is prepared starting at 9 am in the kitchen at 1105 Gilbert Court.  Frank and Vicki set the menu and shop for ingredients.
  • At 10:30 am volunteers come with salad and fruit ingredients and chop up the vegetables and fruit to make salads to serve.
  • Serving starts at noon and another shift steps in to dish out the food to 100+ diners.
  • At 12:30 the final clean up shift arrives and washes all the dishes and cleans up the kitchen.

Each shift is from one to one and a half hours long so no one has to stay all morning. To sign up to help, email or call Bob Littlehale at freelunch@uusic.org or 419-297-7812 or Frank Wildensee at wildlake@gmail.com to receive the Sign Up Genius email list. You can also donate to the lunch by offering to cover the cost of a main dish or sending a donation to UUS account number 4522.

The May Free Lunch is being donated by Bonnie Penno in honor of Mother’s Day.

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