In February of 2020, the CORONA virus closed our doors, but not our mission. Since then, a dedicated team of our volunteers has provided a weekly meal to the Salvation Army for distribution at their facility (take-out), and we have even been able to send weekly meals to the Kitsap Rescue Mission and Benedict House homeless men’s shelter. For the past year our parish has also provided monetary support to the Salvation Army to help defray the additional burden they accepted during the pandemic.
We now believe that Mary’s Place can resume in-person dining in Camerman Hall on Mondays starting June 14. In order to accomplish this goal, we need volunteers, financial support, and most importantly your prayers!
Welcome to Mary’s Place, Bremerton!
Feeding the homeless has a long history in Bremerton. The homeless access local food banks and church and agency sponsored lunches/suppers. During the Fall of 2013 the idea of beginning a soup kitchen at Our Lady Star of the Sea was proposed and accepted.. After researching similar services in Kitsap County and based on the schedule of other meals being provided, it was determined that there was a need for an evening meal on Mondays; Mary’s Place, Bremerton began Monday, February 3, 2014 with 35 Patrons and 47 Volunteers.
Our Parish volunteers feed the homeless and hungry every Monday in Camerman Hall. The doors open at 5 PM for socializing; Dinner is served 6 – 7 PM. While we cannot require patrons to participate we hope they will join us in the future, for fellowship and spiritual engagement and express their need of other services or support.
Mary’s Place seeks to use the time, talent and treasure of Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church to reach out to the community of Bremerton and feed the hungry in mind, body and soul through a weekly community meal and other services based on the identified needs of those we serve.
“A little bit of mercy makes the world a little less cold and more just.” -Pope Francis
Why Are We Doing This?
Because we are Catholic and this is what we are called to do. Our Holy Father has challenged us to minister to the poor and disenfranchised in a meaningful and tangible way. How better to respond than to fill a hungry stomach with food and a hungry soul with prayer?
Can I Cook Food and Bring It to the Dinner?
Health Department regulations require food offered to the public to be prepared in a commercial kitchen. Baked goods not requiring refrigeration may be prepared offsite. Prepared food donated from a commercial kitchen or restaurant must be transported in approved containers within safe handling timeframes. Fully cooked commercially packaged food, such as a ham, can be donated.
What Training is Required?
We must have at least one person in the kitchen with a current Food Worker’s Card. If you will be slicing, dicing, chopping or cooking, it is our preference that you obtain a Food Worker’s Card; however, it is not absolutely necessary.
If you wish to obtain a Food Worker’s Card, you can call the Kitsap Public Health District at 360-337-5235 or access their website at kitsappublichealth.org to obtain information about the two-hour class and test, which can be taken at various locations or online.
The online slide show is brief and is followed by a simple multiple choice test. The cost is $10 and is reimbursable by the parish if you wish. Training on operation of kitchen appliances and general procedures will be held in Camerman Hall.
Do I Have to be There Every Monday?
No – we have teams for each Monday of the month, including the fifth Mondays. We have trained a core group of volunteers, but we all lead busy lives and cannot always make our commitment – we want this ministry to be one of love and giving, not dread. See below for your contact person when you cannot make your Monday.
What Kind of Support Does Mary's Place Need?
Financial: Financial support is always needed and welcomed especially since most government nutrition assistance programs and grants require a proven track record. We will access programs as we become eligible.
You are invited to donate money to Mary’s Place. You may do so by writing a check and notating it” Mary’s Place,” or place cash in an envelope clearly marked “Mary’s Place.” These can be dropped into the collection basket at any Mass. You may also donate online by clicking the button below:
Thank you for your generosity to this ministry!
Volunteer: Volunteers are needed to help in the kitchen for food preparation, cooking, serving and/or dish-washing/clean up. Help is needed in the Dining Room for table set up, mingling with our patrons, busing tables and clean up.
Would you like to back up the shopper? Would you like to keep the children occupied after dinner so the parents can enjoy a few moments? Substitute volunteers are always needed for those times that someone cannot make their schedule – can you work on the spur of the moment?
Donations: Non-food donation such as new or gently used socks, gloves, yarn, sweat shirts (all sizes), hygiene products.
For more information, see the section labeled Mary’s Place Contact Information for Volunteers
Dining Room Leads
To change your plans once schedules have been emailed, call or email (Phone Calls preferred)
Phone: (360) 692-8419
How We Are Doing:
Below is a table showing the number of patrons served each month, the number of volunteers who had dinner, the number of second helpings served, the total number of guests and the average cost per dinner for the month for the year 2018.