Re: Meal payments
From: Larry Miller (
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2008 12:36:03 -0800 (PST)
Here at Oak Creek Commons, we have a slightly different system for meal 
payments and it seems to
work reasonably well, but is probably not the least expensive way to do things.

We do not have advanced signups for eating. When the community was first 
formed, there were meal
signups, but we had difficulty getting people to sign up early enough and no 
one wanted to turn
down someone who hadn't signed up. Eventually, we realized that, on average, 
the number of
people showing up was consistent enough to simply cook for about the same 
number of people each
time, around 30.  If 33 or 34 show up, there is usually enough food to go 
around. If only 22
show up, we try to sell the leftovers. We have a supply of small containers 
that people can use.
If no one wants them, the cooks can take what they want for free.

We charge $4.50 for meals, but kids eat free and teens are only $2.00, so some 
of the cost is
intended to favorably treat families with children. People have accounts and 
periodically are
reminded to put money in the account. We have a sheet with everyone's name on 
it and someone
records the attendance at the meal plus any leftover charges, and then gives 
the list to the
kitchen treasurer. We typically cook 7 meals a month plus 1 or 2 potlucks. All 
meals are
expected to also have a vegetarian entree if the main entree is meat based. 

Cooks have a budget of $130 and we target $10 per meal for pantry supplies. 
Reimbursement is for
whatever the meal cost expecting that some meals will be under and some over.  
Our attendance
last year averaged a little low, but so did the meal cost and charging for 
leftovers helps a lot
when attendance is low. Occasionally, we might charge extra for a more 
expensive than normal
meal. Over the year, enough extra income is usually generated to allow the 
kitchen to offer a
free July 4th meal and a substantial subsidy to our fanciest meal of the year - 
the Winter

Larry Miller
Oak Creek Commons

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