The following description of the Morehead City Chapter Food and Beverage Committee (F&B) is considered the template for subsequent Chapters. Since Morehead City is the original MAD chapter it is the largest and most developed … for now.
The mission of F&B is to provide scrumptious hot meals to troops, their families and the multitudes of MAD volunteers. For F&B an event begins with the boat captain’s orientation meeting the day before the event. F&B will have spent most of that day preparing the cookout meal to be served to the boat volunteers. For F&B volunteers this is our opportunity to thank the people who have volunteered their time and the use of their boats in thanking our troops for serving our country.
On the day of the event, F&B will serve lunch to troops’ families and volunteers; and a huge dinner for everyone.
Volunteers for F&B are needed to perform numerous activities and chores as described below. It’s important that folks interested in volunteering understand that while there is lots of work to do, it comes in spurts. There will be short periods of inactivity during different phases in which you may find yourself with nothing to do; so grab a chair, catch your breath and get ready for the next frenzy.
The different types of jobs described below don’t all happen at the same time. Some, like cooks, work at a slow pace all day while others require an hour or two at a certain time of day and are then done.
Some jobs require more muscle and endurance than others, while some require more patience and attention to finer details. Only you know what you’re best at and you may end up doing all of it.
Cooks bring their large BBQ grills (southern: pig cookers) and are capable of cooking a whole hog and/or a variety of other foods at the same time. Our menus are usually diverse and cooks are ready to prepare BBQ, chicken, chicken wings, ribs, hamburgers, hotdogs and baked potatoes.
Other cooks bring large pots and propane burners for frying, boiling etc.
Most cooks also bring their own prep tables, utensils, chopping boards and whatever they think they might need.
Cooks provide their own propane.
Chopping onions, peeling potatoes, slicing tomatoes, opening hundreds of donated boxes of mac&cheese, cutting hundreds of donated cakes, pies, brownies into single servings and wrapping them, opening hundreds of cans, chopping cabbages to make slaw, carrying 150 pound hogs, rib racks and crates of chicken from the refrigeration trailer to the cookers … F&B volunteers are ready to do it all.
While the cooks are cooking and the preppers prepping there are dozens of tables to be setup, arranged and decorated along with the chairs, tarp-tents are erected, thousands of beverages to unload from trucks and trailers, large coolers filled with ice and stocked with beverages, plates stacked, cutlery wrapped.
Serving up meals for over a thousand people and getting it done in a timely manner requires considerable coordination of several teams of servers.
We typically have a serving line that consists of 12 to 24 volunteers whose job is to put the grub on the moving plates. The containers they serve from are watched by ‘spotters’ whose job is make sure those containers never get empty. The spotters relay what’s needed on the serving line to other volunteers who move the food from the prep areas to the serving lines.
Since not all fishing boats return at the same time, all of these volunteers are prepared to maintain quick moving serving lines for approximately an hour. When enough volunteers are available we try to work them in shifts.
Clean-up, Dish Washing
Just because the last diner has burped and exited the kitchen, doesn’t mean F&B’s work is done.
All the pots and pans, the utensils, cutting boards and food prep tables have to be washed, sterilized and dried – ready for storage.
The dining tables and chairs have to be folded and stacked.
Enormous amounts of trash have to be collected, bagged and moved to pickup areas; and the entire cooking and eating areas are cleaned of litter.
Donations and Sponsors
Food products to feed 1,500 to 2,000 people come from donations by various companies, corporations, organizations and individuals. Portions are purchased using donated funds.
Volunteers are always needed and much appreciated. Food and Beverage is the first committee onsite and the last to leave. It is a huge undertaking, requiring massive amounts of labor.
But it is a labor of love, because …
This is what it’s all about … soldiers and their families. Full tummies, smiles all around.