Meal Teams

Food and Meal info

St. John’s Ministries operates two seasonal emergency shelters. The Men’s Shelter (411 St. John St.) and the Women’s Shelter (700 E. Walnut St.), each with a separate meal sign-up. The shelters provide guests with a hot meal each evening from November through April. All meals are donated by groups or individuals who show their support for the shelter and guests through their gift of cooking. This page offers information to those interested in providing a home-cooked meal for our guests.

NOTE: If you are considering donating food, please know that if we cannot use food donations in a timely manner, we will gift them to other organizations that will be able to use them.


Meal scheduling for the cold weather season begins in early September and runs through the duration of the season. New for 2022, the separate schedules for the Men’s Shelter and Women’s Shelter are electronic through the website “Meal Train”. Groups can choose which shelter to provide a meal for and can sign up directly on the Meal Train website (the weblinks will be made available in September when signup opens). For those preferring to sign up non-electronically, please contact our Meal Coordinator, Mike Westenberg, regarding dates you or your group are interested in providing a meal. Please email Mike at

Meal Preparation: Meals must be cooked outside of the shelters and brought in ready to serve. Our operating agreement does not allow us to cook at the shelters. Food should be brought in containers that you can take back home with you or are disposable.

Please let us know your menu by including that information in your electronic signup. It’s nice to know to track our menus – it’s also handy for fellow cooks as we plan what we might bring. The staff and guests love to peek at it as well.

Quantities: The numbers of guests fluctuate throughout the season, so we do our best to keep groups updated on the current numbers. We anticipate beginning the season by preparing for approximately 60 portions at the Men’s Shelter and 25 portions at the Women’s Shelter. Number updates will be regularly provided via update emails from us via the Meal Train platform.

Serving the Meal: The shelters open and start receiving guests at 5:00 pm daily. Please plan on arriving with your food at approximately 5:30 pm and begin serving by 5:45 pm, though no later than 6:00 pm. The suggested group size for meal teams serving at the Men’s Shelter is three to five people and at the Women’s Shelter, three to four people, based on the kitchen space.

We ask that Meal Team members wear disposable gloves while serving and/or touching food.

Milk, Plates, Cups

Besides the meal we ask you to bring:

For the Men’s Shelter:

  • 3-4 gallons of milk
  • 2-3 gallons of juice or a drink
  • paper plates, cups, and bowls- whatever is needed for your meal

For the Women’s Shelter:

  • 2-3 gallons of milk
  • 1–2 gallons of juice or a drink
  • paper plates, cups, and bowls- whatever is needed for your meal

Desserts: There is no requirement to provide dessert as part of the meal, though guests do enjoy dessert! Often there are sweet donations on hand for the guests to eat. If you do want to provide dessert, you may consider treats that are lower in refined sugar, such as fruit-based desserts or perhaps even jello. Many of our guests deal with diabetes and we want to help them with healthy options as much as we can.

Breakfast:In addition to the evening meal we do schedule people to bring in breakfasts. The same information regarding cooking at the shelter applies to breakfasts as well. Food must be brought ready to serve or be able to be frozen. Breakfasts should be ready to serve to guests at 6 am.

Thank you for sharing your love with our guests through the meals that you create.

Subscribe to Our Email List