DINING WITH GRACE 1st ANNUAL BANQUET FOR HOMELESS FAMILIES
BROOKLYN, NY: Serving God’s Love was the mission and spirit behind the Dining With Grace Banquet that took place on Saturday, August 1st 2015 at Recovery House of Worship, 360 Schemerhorn Street in Brooklyn, NY from 5:30-8:30 pm. Over 30 families from 2 local shelters in Brooklyn, NY were invited to a beautiful surprise dining event, curated by Chef Grace Odogbili of Dining With Grace, a boutique catering service in Brooklyn, NY.
Inspired by her experience as a young child, cooking and serving food in her parent’s small neighborhood church in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY, for years Chef Grace had a vision to create a beautiful banquet for homeless communities. After almost 7 years, it finally came to reality on Saturday, August 1st, 2015. Families from 2 local shelters, St. Johns Place Family Center at 1630 St. Johns Place, Brooklyn NY 11233 and the Flatlands Family Center, 108-75 Ave D, Brooklyn, NY 11236 ( sites where Chef Grace had formerly taught an after-school program in Nutritional Culinary Arts) were welcomed to a beautifully decorated surprise banquet with a live band and personal welcome from Chef Grace and a team of over 20 hospitality volunteers.
The evening began as the families arrived via charter bus to the banquet facility located at Recovery House of Worship at 360 Schemerhorn Street in Downtown Brooklyn, NY. Upon arrival, all the families were welcomed through double doors swung open into the beautifully decorated banquet room with a live band, led by Pastor Beau Lee of Brooklyn Ark, and a joyous welcome by the Dining With Grace Hospitality Team. The room was beautifully decorated with vibrant seasonal floral arrangements from Starbright Floral Design, a handpainted mural by Monica Schmidt of Monica Kay Designs and decor by Brooklyn Niche Events & Interior Design.
The evening continued with positive energy as the guests dined and enjoyed live music and special performances. Our guest speaker, Frederica McLean of Living Above Disorder, LLC shared a message on “Applying Grace to Your Personal Value”. Her company’s focus is to ensure that all people are educated, informed and empowered to Live Above the Disorder that threatens to overwhelm their lives. Ms. McLean is driven by a deep passion to see others fulfill their God given purpose and live abundantly through renewed perspective on life.
Mary Amoakoh, Ghanian-American praise dancer from Maryland, highlighted the evening with a special dance recital of “Be Blessed” by gospel artist Yolanda Adams that captured the attention and emotions of many in the audience.
Chef Grace and her team cooked and served a delicious meal started by Shredded Garden Caesar Salad and Cornbread, followed by a Chipotle Brown Sugar BBQ Chicken dinner with Roasted Corn & Avocado Salsa, Macaroni & Cheese, Cuban Wild Rice & Beans and Chef Grace’s popular beverage, Tropical Fruit Spritzer with Fresh Strawberries. Dessert was Vanilla Layer Cake, Assorted Gourmet Cookies by Betty’s Bakery and Chocolate-Covered Sea Salt Caramels by Nunu’s Chocolate.
As a special surprise, children were guided to a breakaway room where they were further surprised with taking blows at a pinata, a special gift bag of school supplies,activity books and gifts. They enjoyed activities such as face painting and manicures for the little princesses, as well as a Bible Story Reading of Noah & the Ark. Lastly, as a special treat for their families they learned and performed “Lean of Me” to the delight of the audience.
The night ended with a special message of God’s love by Renata Lee of Brooklyn Ark and a closing prayer by Pastor Mary Odogbili, Co-Pastor of Living Bread Ministries and Chef Grace’s mother! Guests were sent home with gift bags that included perfume, Avon makeup, toiletries, inspirational wristbands, a daily devotional and other faith-based resources,a Bible, and more!
“We just want to Serve God’s Love in our city, Brooklyn, in a unique way. Whether it’s a hug, sharing of time and laughter, giving a gift, enjoying a meal together or sharing a prayer or encouraging word, these are all acts of grace we can offer towards our common humanity. Everyone has a shareable gift and we wanted to inspire our community of businesses and friends to spread love, which is in essence extending the nature of God in us. We were so excited for today, our 1st Annual Dining With Grace Banquet, and we look forward to doing it bigger and better for years to come. I believe this is my ministry.
She adds, “Dining With Grace (Catering) is not just about the food but about what food represents, a sharing of love.. this is something I realized as a child while serving the community in my parent’s church…which ultimately led to my journey as a Chef and to establish Dining With Grace Catering as a community-based business.
Chef Grace would like to give a special thank you to our Partners, Supporters & Friends who helped make this event possible:
Living Bread Ministries
Brooklyn Borough Hall
Mary Amoakoh & Family
The Odusute Sisters
Angela Sabatello & Family
Our Amazing Volunteer Team!!
Administration at St. John’s Family Center and Flatlands Family Residence