Tuesday, November 11, 2008

train show

On the weekend, there was a big train show at the community centre where I work. The whole building was rented out to a group of railroad enthusiasts who put on this annual conference for people who love trains. There were displays and movies, models and memorabilia. People come from all over North America to participate.

The Seniors' Society runs a concession for the two days of the show. As the Program Coordinator working with the seniors, it was my job (along with my co-workers) to help with this effort. The concession provides on-site lunch and snacks for everyone at the show, and raises funds for the seniors.

Preparation began weeks in advance with food orders placed and equipment rentals booked (a giant hot dog roller is required in order to provide fresh doggies for the lunchtime crowd) and borrowing crock pots from everyone we knew, for the chili. The week before the show we went shopping. And the day before the show we picked up the perishables. All the time, our regular programs were going on, so my office became the storage room for food, cups, cutlery, drinks and condiments. We also stuffed three fridges and two freezers full of food.

Food prep included boiling boiling 10 dozen eggs for sandwiches, and two rounds of sandwich-making by seniors volunteers (16 dozen sandwiches for each day). On each of the two show mornings we picked up 20 dozen donuts from Tim Horton's. It was a gigantic food effort.

About 40 volunteers worked at the concession, setting up, preparing food, serving food, cashiering and cleaning up. I worked all day Saturday (beginning at 7am at the donut store), and my co-workers worked all day Sunday. We sold almost everything we bought and prepared, and the seniors did very well with the fundraising. It was an intense weekend for sure, but also fun. The train people are lovely and gracious and quirky. After my experiences waitressing through university, I was bowled over by the how thoughtful these customers were in clearing their own trash and dishes from the tables, we had hardly any bussing to do at all. And they were very complimentary, especially toward the chili, which is world-renowned (or so they say). We call it "Grandma's Favourite," and it comes in six-paks from Costco. Pop the top, heat it all morning in those borrowed crock pots and you have chili magic. We sold over a hundred bowls of it each day of the show.

After that busy week, including two early morning homeless shelter shifts, I was grateful to sleep in this morning. I missed Remembrance Day at the cenotaph, but I really needed to recharge my batteries. My office is back to its normal everyday clutter, and I'll return to work tomorrow ready for whatever the next project may be.

question: did you ever cook 100 bowls of chili?

mompoet - Grandma loves it


Anonymous said...

mmmmm .... I love "Grandma's Favourite" especially Grandma's Vegetable Garden 4 Bean Chili.

EH Lady

Lazy Daisy said...

Sounds like a lot of work...so glad they made some money for all their efforts. Mr. Wonderful loves trains..if we had been anywhere close he would have been there.

Muhd Imran said...

Nope. I hate cooking.

But I love the thing things you do. It inspires me about selflessness. You're a wonderful person!

Have a good week ahead.