"Jam Session" is a monthly service project that involves making sack lunches for our homeless neighbors. This ministry began many years ago when some of our retired members were looking for a practical way to show the love of Jesus to our community. They found that Casa Maria, a soup kitchen in downtown Tucson, needed volunteers to pack lunches for the large number of homeless people it serves. When they found out that the lunches could be made offsite and brought to Casa Maria, they decided that was a great opportunity to get involved. Our members decided to meet once a month to pack as many lunches as they could. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches would not require refrigeration, so that became the "main course" for the bags. It didn't take long to discover that jam spreads easier than jelly... so the "Jam Session" was born.
Over the years, some of the Jam Session volunteers became legendary. Bill C. was the banana stem cutter, as well as the most precise peanut butter spreader in the group. Dorothy K. was the most senior Jammer. Sometimes we have had children and teens helping; sometimes the youngest person still quaifies for a senior discount. But whether in the best of health, or using walkers, wheelchairs, or canes, Jam Session volunteers continue to prove that while not everyone can do everything, everyone can do something. And being retired from work doesn't mean retirement from Christian service.
These days, Jammers meet on the Friday-before-the-second-Saturday of each month, in a volunteer's home. (This is because the lunches are always taken to Casa Maria on the second Saturday. Whether the Friday prior to that day is the first or second Friday of the month depends on the month.) Forming as assembly line, the volunteers place a cookie, a fruit cup, and two wrapped sandwiches in each paper bag. (Fruit cups replaced fresh bananas several years ago because it was too hard to keep the bananas from getting overripe before the lunches were delivered.) Five paper bags are packed into a plastic grocery bag, and the lunches are ready to go.
It is our prayer that the food will nourish the bodies as well as the spirits of those who receive it.