Each year, the Monkeys have supported the Salvation Army’s “Adopt-a-Family” program, and this year was no different.
However, this year, we decided to add to that initiative by partnering with Cotto Enoteca, in Burnaby, British Columbia. Andy Mollica, owner and long time friend of the team, invited us to his Commissary and Restaurant facility to help prepare meals for the Salvation Army.
The Salvation Army relies heavily on community donations of cash, food, and time, especially at this time of the year, where many of us are unaware of those families struggling to make ends meet, looking for food services, shelter, or simply someone to turn to for help. The Salvation Army’s website defines what the organization is doing as follows:
“The Salvation Army is passionately committed to eradicating poverty and caring for people who are struggling. The Salvation Army is working to address the dehumanizing scourge of poverty and injustice and educate the public about what it means to live in poverty – and what they can do to help.”
We arrived around 9:30am and were provided with team shirts and ball caps , and split into two teams – one of which was taken into the kitchen facility at Cotto, while the other remained in the restaurant area enjoying homemade lattes and some fun activities throughout the restaurant, including Bocce ball outside on a new patch of turf, and a Fußball table upstairs in the main office area. After admiring the amazing kitchen set-up and meeting some of the other staff members, the Monkeys were stationed at a large counter and volunteered for various “positions” while the main food elements finished cooking. We had mixers, scoopers, packers, sprinklers, and finishers – and we worked like a well oiled machine!
First the pasta came out of the hot water, was drained and loaded into large plastic bins, where our Presidential leader, Mo, sprinkled some Parmesan, seasoning and a healthy dose of traditional Italian sauce all over it. Those of us assigned as mixers grabbed huge spoons and made sure that everything was stirred into a delicious smelling concoction of hot food, before scooping our pre-determined portions for the packaging. Working as a team was key here to ensure that both sides of the counter were working fast and competitively, given that we only had a short time to prepare nearly 200 meals before the Salvation Army vehicle showed up to collect them. We mixed and scooped, before passing the food trays down to the next station where additional sauce was added, and the ever important extra sprinkling of Parmesan went on the top to finish off the dish. Lids were closed, and secured for transport before being packed into large crates so they could make their way safely to waiting families and individuals at the Salvation Army locations in Burnaby/Vancouver.
We received a kind word of thanks from the charity as the meals were picked up, making our yearly community initiative all the more worthwhile. Hearing words of kindness and thanks lets us know that we have been able to help a least a few people at this cold time of year, and make sure they have hot food to enjoy. It also makes each and every one of us thankful for what we have, and reminds us not to take anything for granted.
The Salvation Army continues to do amazing work around the Lower Mainland and we were honored to be invited to Andy’s facility to help with this part of the program. Please enjoy some more photos from a great morning with the team at Cotto Enoteca.
Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones!
From all of us at MonkeyMedia Software and the Catering Institute