Friends of the Needy

For over thirty years, St. Monica Friends of the Needy (FON) has been feeding the homeless. What began as a few ladies cooking a meal in the parish kitchen on Tuesdays, evolved into a ministry supported and embraced by the parish. The parish community helps FON with volunteers who not only cook and drive, but also with an annual cash collection, individual donations and bequests, and even several large white vans over the years. Throughout Mercer Island, south Seattle and south Bellevue, St. Monica’s Friends of the Needy van and our drivers are known and respected as a devoted outreach ministry doing Jesus’ work in the larger community. Every Tuesday the ministry provides the only hot meal many people see in a week. If you would like to come by to see us cooking or take a ride in the van, we welcome your visit. You will be amazed at the wonderful people you meet who supervise the shelters, and the joyful camaraderie in the kitchen as we cook.

The following is a list of volunteer opportunities at FON. FON is open to all (non-denominational). Maybe this is your time. Do you have a calling from God to join us?

Van drivers and helpers:

Take the FON van on its route one morning a month. Pick up donations at three grocery stores, distribute food to shelters and food banks. Commitment – about once a month, weekday or weekend, about 2.5 hours.

Tuesday night drivers:

Use the FON van to transport the Tuesday Cooks meal to its five destinations, beginning at approximately 3:30 pm.  Commitment – rotating schedule, approximately once a month for 2-3 hours.

Cooks, helpers, dishwashers:

Meet at St. Monica’s kitchen on Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m. to cook a four-course hot dinner for later delivery. Commitment - come for an hour or the afternoon, every Tuesday or as often as you like.

Donor, monthly/occasional:

Be on our monthly request list to meet a regular need OR ask to be an on-request donor.  Meat, vegetables, salad supplies, dessert (baked goods can be store-bought or homemade).

Cash donor/Bequest:

Donations always gladly accepted.

FON Coordinator: Bob Kessler

Head Cook: Janice Asmus


Getting Involved In Ministry

Sharing our gifts of time and talent is one way of giving thanks to God for the blessings He has bestowed on us. Please discern what God is calling you to do with these gifts. 

Highlighted Ministry Opportunities

FON's Legacy of Service

St. Monica Parish has sponsored a number of successful ministries over the years, but one stands out for its longevity and daily service: Friends of the Needy began in the early 1980s by delivering a hot meal every Tuesday to St. Martin de Porres Shelter in Seattle. Soon a number of parishioners got into the act, filling a daily need to transport available food from its sources to the shelters and food banks where the hungry can access it. Under the faithful leadership of Leo Werlech, Fran Kendall and others, FON grew from its infancy into a full-scale attack on hunger. As the number of homeless has risen in the Seattle area, FON’s drivers and its kitchen ministry, the Tuesday Cooks, have worked to keep pace. In the last three years, Tuesday Cooks has expanded from feeding occupants of 2 shelters weekly, to serving 5 shelters in Seattle and Bellevue. Faithful donors, both individual parishioners and commercial organizations such as New Seasons (soon to be Metropolitan Market), have made this work possible. The cooks produce a hot casserole for 450+ people, as well as a mountain of green salad, hot buttered bread, and often fruit salad, dessert and other extras.

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