Lenten Almsgiving| Cor Unum Lawrence, MA
Our Mission: We are committed to the truth that no man, woman, or child should ever be hungry.
We serve hundreds of people every day, with a small core staff and a large army of generous volunteers. We opened the doors of the Cor Unum Meal Center on September 30, 2006 and in our first ten years we served over two million meals! At the current rate of meal service, approximately 250,000 meals are served annually at Cor Unum.
Cor Unum is unique! When a guest enters our center, he/she is welcomed by volunteer greeters and led to a round table in a spacious dining room with beautiful wood paneling, high peach-colored walls, expansive windows, a beamed cathedral ceiling, and skylights. Each table is decorated with a fresh flower arrangement and set with restaurant-quality plates and utensils. A volunteer waitperson serves each guest a multiple course meal, typically including salad, bread, soup, entree, vegetables, dessert, and a variety of beverages. Each guest is able to eat as much as he/she likes. Multiple menu alternatives are available for children at every meal, and specific tables and volunteers are dedicated to the service of the many children who come to Cor Unum unaccompanied by adults.
At the end of the meal, each guest may be offered a small gift – usually food or drink – to take home. The dining room at Cor Unum seats eighty people at a time, so volunteers bus the tables as guests complete their meals, and prepare places for successive guests. Volunteers staff the kitchen before, during, and after each meal – cooking food, serving the meals as requested by the wait staff, washing dishes, and cleaning equipment.
At each meal, guests include the working poor, families with children, children without parental supervision, the unemployed, the homeless, senior citizens, those living with mental and emotional illness, and individuals of all ages.
Volunteers share meals with guests, and guests are welcome to become volunteers. Because no entry questions are asked of anyone who comes to Cor Unum for a meal, and because guests, volunteers, and members of the local community eat and work together, the dining experience is much closer to a family celebration than an institutional experience.