Bethesda Friends Meeting

Hospitality (how to serve)

Are you assisting with Hospitality? Here are the instructions (Click Here for printer friendly version, pdf)

These instructions are provided to help guide your committee. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call the clerk of the Fellowship and Hospitality Committee (name and contact information in the BFM Directory).

  • Because food allergies to nuts have become so prevalent, please refrain from bringing foods that contain peanuts, peanut butter, tree nuts, nut oils, etc.
  • Please list the ingredients on the food you bring to potluck & coffee hour. 


Supplies (coffee, tea, sugar, dry foods, paper goods, cups, tablecloths) are stored in the large plastic boxes in the window seats in the library. The purpose of the plastic containers is to keep dirt and animals out of our supplies, so please make sure to keep the lids tightly sealed. PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ANY FOOD, EXCEPT COFFEE AND TEA SUPPLIES, IN PLASTIC CONTAINERS IN THE LIBRARY. Some food (such as crackers and dips) and drinks can be stored in the downstairs refrigerator in the Meetinghouse.

There are more supplies in the blue metal cabinet in the corner of the Multipurpose Room in the Groome Building. The Committee buys economical and environmental-friendly paper goods in bulk to avoid emergency trips to Giant. If supplies are low in either place, please email or call the clerks of the Hospitality Committee.

If you need to buy cups or plates, please be sure that they are recyclable, NOT Styrofoam or plastic. If you need to purchase supplies, always give your expense to the Assistant Treasurer so that we know what our actual costs are. Remember, you can be reimbursed or you can donate your expense as a "Gift in Kind." In both cases, please use the BFM Expense Reimbursement Request Form (pdf).


Before Sunday: Those responsible call each other to arrange who will bring what. Typical needs are about 2 gallons of juice, a tray of cut-up veggies with dip, 3 pounds of cut-up cheese, 3 boxes of crackers, and perhaps fruit such as grapes (or make your own choice).

Check the downstairs refrigerator for leftover juice or food. A tray labeled "BFM" holds our leftover juices, and a similarly labeled crisper drawer holds our leftover food.

Arrive at meeting by 10:30.

  • Fill large coffee pot with water. The coffee pot is stored under the sink in the kitchenette. Plug in the coffee pot well before meeting starts since it is noisy while it heats up. An extension cord is under the Library sink or in a drawer in the credenza or in a drawer in the desk in the office.
  • Get two large tables from closet and set up about 3 feet from library shelves to allow circulation on both sides. The tablecloths are in a window seat. The color cloths are for regular coffee hour & potlucks. The white tablecloths are reserved for special occasions such weddings and Memorial Meetings.
  • Trays are located in one of the window seats &/or in the lower cabinets in the downstairs kitchen. Put on the trays: instant coffee (regular and decaf); teabags; hot chocolate mix; Coffee mate; sugar and sweetener; stirrers; and teaspoons.
  • Put out hot cups, cold cups, napkins, plates, and paper towels (for spills).
  • Set up a wastebasket and the blue recycle bin (found in the closet) near the drinks table.
  • Arrange crackers, veggies, etc. on platters. Platters are located in one of the window seats &/or in the lower cabinets in the downstairs kitchen. Cover with plastic wrap or napkins until meeting ends. Have cheese ready but keep in plastic until meeting ends.
  • As soon as meeting ends and before announcements, slip out to uncover platters, etc. Put out a pitcher of water. Pour about two dozen cups of juice to have ready for self service. We are always concerned about children's allergies, so we ask them to wait for their parents before having their snack.
  • During coffee hour make sure supplies are adequate, mop up spills, etc.

When most people have left, clean up everything, dump leftover hot water in bathroom sink, return all supplies to their proper place, vacuum floor (vacuum sweepers are in closet), and take trash bags and recycling bin to the dumpster and recycling receptacle, respectively. The dumpster is through the garage entrance to the loading dock at the new building. The wheeled recycling receptacles are in the same area, to the right of the exit from the garage. If table cloths become wet or soiled, take them home to wash them but make sure they are back by 10:30 a.m. on the following Sunday.


Arrive at Groome Building by 10:30 a.m. to set up. Each member of the committee should bring a substantial dish to ensure enough food at potluck. Someone should also bring cider or cold drinks, and you can use the leftover drinks in the downstairs refrigerator in the Meetinghouse.

Set up tables

  • Two long tables near kitchen for food: cover with non-white table cloths (in blue cabinet or in window seat in library). The tables without benches are either in the corner of the room or they might be stored in the utility closet to the left of the kitchen door. Ask the Guard to open and prop open the utility closet with a door stop until end of clean up.
  • One table near entrance for drinks.
  • Six table/bench units in two rows: to unlock these tables, turn the silver handle near the bottom, so that the black latch in the center of the table "pops up." Then pull ends of table until the table is flat. The silver rod at the top/center of the tables is pushed down to latch the tables open. It has to be pulled up to release the tables when you fold them at clean up.
  • One table by piano for desserts.

Put needed items on tables

  • At the right end of the tables by the kitchen: Place silverware and plates at end of tables. (Kitchen worker will be there to get plates and silverware out of locked cabinet in kitchen.) Usually, we use Sidwell’s silverware and plates, but if they are not accessible, use plastic cutlery and plates from BFM cabinet. (BFM cabinet is 2nd from the right of the blue rolling cabinets in corner of main room.)
  • On table near entrance: Fill large coffee pot (from blue cabinet) with water and plug it in. There should be an extension cord in BFM's blue rolling cabinet (second from right). If not, look for one in the bottom left-hand drawer of the credenza in the Meeting House, in one of the desk drawers in the office, and/or under the sink in the Library. The most accessible outlet is behind the steel, rolling food cart that is to the left of the kitchen entrance (to the right of the storage closet). There should be one outlet open for use. [Less accessible is an outlet behind the second blue cabinet from the left. The cabinets are on wheels, so they can be carefully pulled from the wall, being watchful of all the objects piled on top of them.] Place on table items needed for hot drinks: hot cups, coffee, teabags, Coffee mate, sugar, stirrers, teaspoons, etc. (These are all in blue cabinet in corner of main room). Also place juice, a pitcher of water, and cold cups for cold drinks.

As soon as meeting ends and before announcements, committee members should return to Groome building to help set up food tables.

  • A kitchen worker will be there to help put hot food out (and will wash dishes, silverware and other items during and after potluck), but committee members also need to help place food dishes on table.
  • A member of the Hospitality Committee will pay the kitchen worker for her transportation expenses.
  • Before potluck begins, someone from the committee with responsibility for the potluck should ask for a moment of silence.
  • During potluck, some supervision may be needed at food and beverage tables.

After potluck, around 1:00

  • Wipe tables (using soapy water and cloths provided by kitchen staff), fold them back up, and return them to wall.
  • Put table cloths away in library window seat; if soiled, take them home and wash them (and return them by 10:30 the following Sunday).
  • Put paper goods, washed utensils, beverage items, coffee pot, etc. away in blue cabinet in corner of the main room. Be sure to return the extension cord to wherever it came from.
  • Return extra drinks and food (like crackers, cheese, and cookies) that can be used for next coffee hour to the refrigerator in the downstairs kitchen in the Meeting building.
  • Use large mop in closet to clean floors. Empty dustpan into trash container.
  • Empty waste baskets into large garbage bin with plastic bag. Kitchen helper usually takes out the food trash before leaving. Before leaving, take all other trash and recyclables out to their outside collection places (next to the garage entrance), if the kitchen helper has not already done so.
  • These instructions are provided to help guide your committee. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call the clerk of the Fellowship and Hospitality Committee. (Names and contact information available on the inside cover of the BFM Directory.)

Bethesda Friends Meeting

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 30152, Bethesda MD 20824

Our Meetinghouse is on the campus of the Sidwell Friends Lower School at the intersection of Edgemoor Lane and Beverly Road in Bethesda, Maryland

We are a member organization of the Religious Society of Friends
Contact Us

 | Login | Logout

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software