The OCP Blog

Ron’s Update: I’m So Excited About the Friday Lunch Restaurant

The restaurant, the fruit of much planning and focused thought, is the second wave or ourthree-part Kitchen Industries plan, which includes Box Lunch Catering (already launched), the Friday Lunch Restaurant, and upcoming production of a product to sell in stores (right now we’re working with pesto.)

The idea behind the kitchen industries is to employ people who are showing up for themselves by plugging into OCP life, and to surround those individuals with a bit more focused care in order to test our belief that constructive work in a supportive community will have a significant restorative impact on the lives of our community members. And if the results bear out as we predict they will, then we may try to expand and replicate these programs.  

The idea for the restaurant first entered my brain about three years ago when a friend told me about a place called Sisters of the Road in Portland, OR. I had the opportunity to visit SOTR in the summer of 2014, and see their operation first hand.  

It was around that time that the OCP staff started reading a little book called Toxic Charity:How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help and How to Reverse It, by Robert Lupton.Much of what we read in that book resonated – both the good and the bad.

Lupton believes that an organization should not routinely, over time, do for people what they can do for themselves – that ultimately, over the long haul, this behavior can be harmful to individuals and consequently entire communities. A counterpart to this idea, Lupton posits that volunteers who are not regular members in the community should only be brought in toadd value to the programming – to do something that the community cannot do for itself. In other words, an outside volunteer should not take away the essential life-giving work that thecommunity can and needs to do for itself.

Lupton emphasizes entrepreneurship and systems of reciprocity rooted in love as ways to be of real help to struggling individuals. We were happy to discover that at least the seeds of these strategies were already present at OCP in our Membership structure, Night Out events, Tuesday Work Days, and “Star” system, which rewards folks for volunteering with a “Star” which can be used as a sort of currency.  

The restaurant has turned out to be a sort of a hybrid of Work Day and Night Out.

There are three ways to pay at the restaurant: $8 (cash, check, card), One Star, or by volunteering day-of.  

This meal provides benefit for the OCP community in many ways:  

  • Another day for community members to access the building and have something constructive to do.

  • A meal that can be earned by anyone through labor contribution instead of money.

  • Job skills training for all participants, which can translate into good references on job applications.

  • A boost of self-esteem and awareness of personal potential for many individuals.

  • Paid employment for the participants in our Kitchen Industries program.

  • A fun and easy way for the public (you, for instance : ) to support OCP AND get a great meal at a reasonable price.

  • A way for folks who support OCP to conveniently make regular visits to learn more about OCP and network and brainstorm with staff and others about ways to get involved.

And the OCP Community LOVES it! There is so much to be learned from being part of a successful team – patience, job skills, leadership skills, learning to accept mistakes and forgive oneself and others – that you can just see folks feeling good about themselves and growing as individuals as the result of this work. We have had about 15 volunteers from our communityon each of the restaurant days we have had so far.

Some of my friends, who are not a regular part of the OCP community, have asked if we need volunteers for the restaurant, and I say, “No, we need customers!” As I have said, the work itself is a precious commodity that generates the productive, educational, team-building activity that our community members desperately need – not to mention paid employment for some (and hopefully more as we grow), which comes in handy too.

OCP is uniquely positioned, because of our years of work with this community, to create trauma-informed non-toxic, loving, supportive programming, income producting programming, but we need business. Business creates a productive activity upon which we can build structures for restoration and hope.   

Please come out and join us at the Friday Lunch Restaurant – every Friday 11:30 – 1:30. The menu, which is different every week, is a prix fixe 3-course lunch (3 choices in each course) that includes an appetizer, a main, dessert and drinks all for $8 or One Star.

If you would like to be on an email list to receive just the menu every Thursday morning, please send your preferred email address to [email protected]. (Note this is different than our main email list.) We also plan to post the menu on Thursdays on ourInstagram and Facebook pages.   

Ron Copeland

Executive Director