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Orono family volunteers at homeless shelter

Junior+Josh+Kovalik+prepares+a+meal
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Orono family volunteers at homeless shelter

Junior Josh Kovalik prepares a meal

Junior Josh Kovalik prepares a meal

Kris Kovalik

Junior Josh Kovalik prepares a meal

Kris Kovalik

Kris Kovalik

Junior Josh Kovalik prepares a meal

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The Kovalik family volunteers at First Covenant Church Homeless Shelter about two times a month in downtown Minneapolis, located across the street from the U.S. Bank Stadium. They began volunteering in 2012 as a way to get involved with the community around them.

I like doing this type of volunteering because it feels like we are making an impact because we are in charge of everything”

— Josh Kovalik

First Covenant Church Homeless Shelter provides a shelter for about 50 men and women per night that are experiencing homelessness. These men and women are welcome to stay for a maximum of 90 nights at a time. Before this year, First Covenant was only available as a shelter during the winter months, but beginning this year they partnered with St. Stephen’s Human Services and will be offering shelter year round. First Covenant Church Homeless Shelter has been in service for about nine years.

First Covenant provides the space and volunteer coordination to provide and serve a hot meal nightly to anyone in need. A typical night is led by volunteers. They are the ones that provide a meal by purchasing the ingredients, making the food at First Covenant, serving the hot meal with the occasional dessert and cleaning the kitchen after everyone has finished eating. Generally, the volunteer session runs from about 5:30 to 8:30 every night, with dinner served at 6:30, including weekends and holidays.

“I started volunteering here with my family because it is one of the few places that allow kids to do this type of volunteering,” Orono parent Kris Kovalik said.

Each night, the church requires three or more volunteers to help with the meal. On April 18, the Kovalik family prepared a hot meal for about 35 people They went shopping for all of the ingredients to make the meals; they also purchased paper plates and plastic silverware for easy disposal. A family friend of the Kovaliks’ made and served Texas tornado cake as the dessert for the night.

“We have been doing this as a family for about six years now, and we go twice a month, sometimes more,” freshman Ryan Kovalik said.

Chicken fettuccine alfredo was served as the main course. It was served with a bread roll, grapes and a side salad. Volunteers count how many people are in the shelter each night to estimate how many plates of food to prepare. People are allowed to eat seconds after everyone has been served the main meal. After the main course, cake and ice cream was served to the guests.

“I like doing this type of volunteering because it feels like we are making an impact because we are in charge of everything,” junior Josh Kovalik said.

Some guests in the homeless shelter are very appreciative of the work that volunteers do; they come up and thank the volunteers for their efforts in preparing this meal after they have finished.

“My favorite part is when the guests come and thank us after we finish making the meal,” freshman Noah Kovalik said.“It makes me feel like what I did was really worth it.”

If you are looking for volunteer hours or just wanting to help out, First Covenant is always looking for new families and individuals to volunteer, so you can send an email to [email protected] to schedule a time to serve in the shelter, or visit their website to learn more information at http://www.1stcov.org/shelter.

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About the Writer
Mandy Johnson, Features Editor

Hi! My name is Mandy Johnson and I am a Features Editor this year for The Spartan Speaks! I was in Journalism I last year and I really enjoyed the class,...

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