The February Potluck – Fellowship Committee Schedule for The Church in Aurora has a lovely heart theme. I love hearts and February is all about hearts. After a long winter in November and December, February starts brighter colors and lots of hearts and flowers. Each year as the committee starts thinking of spring and warmer weather the Valentine’s Day Theme Potluck is a favorite. February has only been tolerable because February is also my birthday month. February is one of the coldest and gloomiest in Ohio. The February Church Potluck has a special excitement for me as it reminds me of the birthday parties my mother arranged every February.
In the past at our church, The Church in Aurora, potlucks have been held in the fellowship hall on the first Tuesday of every month. For the last two years, we have had the February potluck the third Sunday at noon after the 11 o’clock church service. This is because due to the extremely bad weather we had in the last two Februarys, it was too difficult for the parishioners to get to the church on a Tuesday nights in snowstorms. As a committee, we decided that during the coldest months, we will move the potlucks to Sunday after church, as most people already are coming to the Sunday morning church service. We had been asked not to have the Sunday potlucks on the first Sunday of the month, which is communion Sunday, or the second as this Sunday is the deacons meeting day. So the third Sunday is now the standard day when the potluck is on a Sunday.
This year since I started using my new Cricut Explore Air machine, hearts were everywhere. I made colorful hearts for confetti out of pink, dark pink, red, pale pink, in all sizes for all of the tables. I search the Cricut Design Space for some simple single cut Valentine’s Day cards that could be set on the tables. In December, I purchased the Anna Griffin Ribbons and Bows cartridge and cut a large ribbon bow, attach to a straw, with a brad for the vases. I also made Valentine’s Day color pinwheels to put in the vases along with one large bow each. For the decorations it is hearts hearts hearts. I made hearts on the cricket express air in all different sizes shapes and textures to lay on the table as confetti. Ribbons and bows cartridge helped me make these giant bows and pinwheels to put in our vase. We have two sets of vases that we just keep rotating decorations and then are kept in the basement storage room.
The Dollar store is always one of my first stops for a February Potluck, as I usually purchase the old-fashioned heart candies and heart candy necklaces and any other little heart treat that the children might like. I always stop around to each table after everyone has eaten and tell the parents of the children that they can take home any of the treats and any of the heart decorations they would like. I am always trying to find ways to encourage the children to enjoy being at church.
Our February/Valentine’s Day potluck usually does not have a food theme. The usual two pans of Stouffers mac & cheese and two pans of Stouffers lasagna are always present in order to make sure we have enough food for the older members who want to attend but do not cook. This February we also added frozen chicken nuggets and frozen broccoli from Sam’s Club to make sure that the younger children just don’t eat the brownies. But as our Pastor says and what usually occurs, is that no matter how little food I think will be there, there is always plenty. I also walk around the tables and make sure that any of our single older people know to take home any food that is left over. The committee members bring out plastic bags and fill them with whatever our families want to take home to have a nutritious meal the next day. Even if the bag is filled with just brownies 🙂
The typical potluck set up goes as follows:
From the basement storage room we bring up the three drink dispensers that we use at every potluck; one for water, one for lemonade and one for ice tea. The vases and any of the past decorations are also kept on the shelves in the storage room.
We have beautiful china dishes in the kitchen that were purchased in the late 30s or 40s that we set out in stacks on the buffet table. Coffee with all the extras, creamer and sugar and sweetener, are set out. Regular and decaf coffee is prepared in the auto-brewing system in the kitchen per the instructions on the wall. For a regular potluck, we make one gallon of regular coffee and one-half gallon of decaf coffee. We set out Styrofoam cups for the coffee and drinks.
If the potluck is on a Sunday after church we have one long table to the side with a white tablecloth that has the food for the coffee hour. Some people who normally come up for coffee hour after church may want the usual fare without having to be there for the potluck. We want to accommodate everyone’s preference for after a Sunday service.
Three hours before the potluck is to begin we turn the oven onto 400. Two and a half hours before the potluck begins we take the frozen Stouffers entrées out of the freezer and put them in the oven. When we anticipate a large crowd we use four frozen entrées for some of our smaller potlucks we used two. The larger potlucks where there will be a lot of children we serve chicken nuggets and broccoli.
In Ohio in February we’ve all been snowed in for several months and a fun festive gathering with bright colored pink, red and white decorations, pleasant company of people we might not have seen for a few weeks, brings the month of February into the perfect beginning for spring to start in March.