History and Purpose
Friends of the Homeless was founded in January 1983 to provide a wide range of services, including housing, to help homeless adults and families move from dependency to self-sufficiency.
Friends of the Homeless (FOH), a program of Southeast, Inc., maintains six transitional housing units for families; the Parsons Avenue Apartments for 25 men; an emergency shelter with 130 beds for men. FOH provides liaison programs for mental illness, legal consultation, chemical dependency, medical treatment, and a wide variety of employment services.
For over 30 years, First Community Church members have been preparing and serving a hot meal to men at the East Main Street shelter each Monday evening throughout the year.
Volunteer Opportunities through First Community Church
Individuals and groups are needed to feed the men at their emergency shelter. As a volunteer, you would be part of a team of people that would provide a complete meal for these men. This is a rewarding experience and the men who live in this shelter are always very appreciative of the hot meals that we provide.
These groups will provide dinner for approximately 100 men at Friends of the Homeless. For those groups wishing to cook, tried and true recipes are available.
A typical menu would be:
- Main dish
- Vegetable side
- Fresh fruit
- Fruit juices
- Pastries and breads*
The group would also be responsible for providing paper products:
- Dinner size plates
- Dessert size plates
*Pastries, dessert, and bread items are donated weekly by Panera and Giant Eagle. A regular volunteer picks up the items from retailers on Sunday and delivers them to the church kitchen. They are left on the counter and marked for Monday Night Meals.
The groups are responsible for the cost, purchase, preparation, and delivery of all the items listed.
It sounds like a lot, but with enough volunteers and planning, it really is not overwhelming! Step-by-step volunteer instructions are below, but some further instruction may be needed to get started. If you have questions, please contact the Mission Office at or extension 106.
how to volunteer
Prior to Serving
Step 1: Use the sign up genius link above to view available dates to serve. When adding your group, you'll be asked to provide the point-of-contact, their email address and primary phone number.
Step 2: Gather your group and decide on your meal.
- You can purchase prepared items for the meal or make it yourselves!
- You can drop off the meal or stay and serve it to the men at the shelter (see below for details). The whole thing takes only about an hour from the drive there to when you're done serving the meal!
- The kitchen at FC South is available for use if you need it.
- Regularly used recipes over the past 30 years are available. Click to view recipes.
Step 3: Pickup the donated bread and pastries from the First Community South kitchen. You should plan to pick those up prior to 3pm on Monday, or while the church is open Sunday. Often these will need to be portioned out into individual servings prior to delivering.
Day of Service
- Purchase or prepare the meal with your group. Gather all items needed for the meal including drinks and paper products. Use disposable containers with lids to keep food at the correct temperature during transport. Purchase and leave disposable serving utensils if you are not serving the meal. Otherwise, bring those with you.
- Call FOH and let them know you are on the way with a meal from First Community Church. At this time, you should let them know if your group plans to stay and serve or just drop off. The phone number is 614.360.0251
- Leave the church by 6pm at the latest. Drive to Friends of the Homeless Shelter at 924 E. Main street Columbus, Ohio 43205.
- Upon your arrival you will be greeted by those waiting for the meal to begin, and they will happily help you carry in the items. You'll be directed to the kitchen area to set up a cafeteria-style line. Desserts (and their utensils) go on a designated separate table.
- If you're not staying to serve the meal, you're all set! If you're staying to serve, get behind the counter and ready to serve!
- When you're ready, ask one of the men attending dinner (or someone in your group) to say a short prayer over the meal.
- The men will line up to be served! When they're done with dinner, they will pickup their own desserts from the table.
- Clean up the kitchen area and dispose of the serving dishes. You can leave unused paper products or take them back with you.