Iowa City Overnight

To wrap up the 2016-2017 Café year, the chefs took an overnight trip down to Iowa City on June 9-10th. Friday started with lunch at the University of Iowa and a tour of campus. The girls loved the huge VARIETY of menu choices in the dining hall – so many options! A couple of highlights from the tour were an interactive periodic table that you could click on and see samples of the elements. They visited the Museum of Natural History that is on campus as well. Of course the tour included what a general courses lecture hall looked like, the library and the fitness center.

After the tour it was time to go to Hurts Donuts. This little excursion was an idea that came out of a Girls With Ideas session! We were discussing how we get ideas and what inspires us. What started as a conversation about chocolate dipped bacon led to how creative Hurts Donuts was and how their ideas were different. A cotton candy donut and gum ball donut definitely are unique ideas… those were 2 flavors selected to try while at the shop. Each girl was able to get her own flavor she wanted.

It was time to check into the hotel and get some swimming time in. The Café 361 chefs were lucky to get a hotel with a water slide in the pool area. Lots of fun going down again, again, and again. We did a build your own sandwich dinner in the hotel and finished the night by brainstorming our meal themes for next year. Stay tuned for what new and creative meals are coming for the 2017-2018 year, there are going to be some fun ones!

Saturday morning came quickly and after a short breakfast at the hotel (the waffle station was pretty popular), we made our way to Iowa City High School to help pack meals for Feed My Starving Children (FMSC). This organization was founded in 1987 as a Christian non-profit that provides nutritionally complete meals specifically formulated for malnourished children. FMSC operates by a simple process. Donations given fund the meal ingredients and volunteers hand-pack the meals. The meals are donated to FMSC food partners around the world, where kids are fed and lives are saved!

Iris Strong, Youth Ministry Leader at First Congregational United Church, arranged for the Café 361 group to be a part of this mobile pack day. Some girls were “warehouse” crew which entailed keeping the stations filled with rice, protein and bags and running the full boxes over to be weighed. At the packing stations, there were a variety of jobs from scooping in the protein and vegetables, weighing the bags and sealing the bags closed. The hour and a half went by fast, especially thanks to the bumping music and positive attitudes of everyone else there volunteering. It was a fun atmosphere and the girls all said they would do something like this again. EVEN with having to wear hairnets.

The adventures continued as we headed to Zombie Burger in the Coral Ridge mall to fill growling stomachs with a cheeseburger and fries. This is a popular new restaurant in the Iowa City area that was fun for everyone to try. The trip ended with another activity brand new to most of the café 361 chefs… ice skating!

Donning their skates and smiles, the girls took to the rink and after an hour of skating were looking like naturals. For the girls who had never been on ice skates before, all of them made it around the rink at least twice. The determination was evident as they ventured away from the wall and into the center rink! I wish we could share the sounds of all the giggles and cheers. Thank you to all our supporters throughout the year who came and dined with us. We will share details for next year as soon as we get them finalized, already looking forward to it!

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