It can be easy to overlook the simple joys of lending a helping hand to those in need when life is busy. Yet, within the heart of Michigan City, an opportunity to make a real difference is present. Volunteering in our kitchen isn’t just about cooking meals; it’s about serving care, love, dignity, and respect to those most in need. It’s about nourishing not just the body but also the soul.

Every night, around 50 individuals gather at our shelter, not just for a meal but for a sense of warmth and belonging and working towards a better life for themselves. Behind the scenes, our small team of dedicated volunteers works tirelessly to ensure that each dinner service is a nourishing experience. From meal prep to clean-up, every role in the kitchen plays a vital part in this mission of compassion. As a volunteer-based organization, we rely on our dedicated kitchen staff to feed our guests, reinforcing food security while staying at Nest. Our kitchen volunteers are always in need of extra help. Today, we want to share a few ways that we currently need volunteers in our kitchen.

Meal Prep Maestros:

The journey begins with the meal prep team. These unsung heroes chop dice and season ingredients with precision and care. They turn simple groceries and donations into culinary delights, infusing each dish with flavors that ignite the senses and warm the heart. We take great pride in being able to offer a well-balanced and nourishing hot dinner each night to our guests and a simple breakfast in the morning before our guests leave for the day.


Pantry Help and Menu Keepers:

Behind every successful dinner service is meticulous planning. Pantry helpers and menu keepers ensure that the pantry is well-stocked and that dietary restrictions are accommodated, where possible. They maintain order amidst chaos, ensuring that every meal is a harmonious symphony of flavors. Nest is blessed to receive donations of food from various sources throughout the week and sometimes daily. We need help pulling all of these wonderful donations into a cohesive, notorious, and delicious dinner.


Culinary Artists: The Cooks:

In the kitchen, the cooks are the conductors, orchestrating a symphony of sizzles, spices, and sauces. With skillful hands and creative flair, they transform raw ingredients, and pre-cooked or donated foods into mouthwatering masterpieces. But more than that, they infuse each dish with a sprinkle of love, knowing that food is more than sustenance—it’s a gesture of kindness.


Serving with a Smile:

As hungry Nest guests line up with plates in hand, first on our women’s floor, then up on our men’s floor, our servers step into the spotlight, serving not just food but also a moment of connection. With a smile and a kind word, they bridge the gap between hunger and fulfillment, offering a sense of belonging to those who need it most. A hot meal served with a smile can be the only kindness a guest receives that day. This special role is a chance to instill dignity and respect in the lives of our guests.


Cleaning Crew: Beyond the Mess

Behind every memorable meal lies a mountain of dishes waiting to be conquered. The cleaning crew, though often overlooked, plays a crucial role in maintaining the kitchen’s sanctity. Their meticulous attention to detail ensures that every surface shines, creating a space where dignity and respect reign supreme. At Nest, we take our kitchen cleanliness very seriously and are always looking for community volunteers who want to pitch in and help our kitchen sparkle.


The act of sharing a meal takes on profound significance at Nest Community Shelter. It’s a gesture of solidarity, a reminder that no one should ever have to face hunger. By volunteering in our shelter kitchen, you’re not just serving food; you’re serving hope, compassion, and the promise of a brighter tomorrow.

If you’ve ever felt called to make a difference in your community, now is the time to answer that call. We need YOU. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a novice in the kitchen, there’s a place for you in our volunteer family. Together, we can turn compassion into action and make a lasting impact on the lives of those in need.

Visit our volunteer page or reach out to our volunteer coordinator to learn how you can get involved. Together, let’s turn hunger into hope, one meal at a time. In our kitchen, we don’t just serve food—we serve care, love, and dignity. Join us, and together, let’s make a difference that lasts a lifetime.