Cor Unum’s Dining Kiosk: A Decade of Meal Ministry

Since 2006, the Cor Unum Meal Center in Lawrence, MA, has been showing America how to feed the hungry. The meal ministry’s staff and volunteers don’t see their work as a burden or an obligation. For them, it is a privilege to serve their neighbors. Don’t think soup kitchen or breadline. Think free, full-service restaurant with fresh flower centerpieces and walls of windows.

Advanced Kiosks is proud to play a part in this unique community effort. One of our original customers, Cor Unum (Latin for “one heart”) has served breakfast and dinner every day for 12 years. That’s 50-75 volunteers per day serving 250,000 meals per year. A total of 2.5 million bellies filled, many of them children’s. What an amazing accomplishment!

Uniting to Meet A Need

Conan Cor Unum

Conan O’Brien on opening day at Cor Unum

Thirty miles north of Boston, Lawrence is the poorest city in Massachusetts and one of the poorest in the country. One Thanksgiving, a group from St. Patrick Parish fed ten homeless people living under a bridge a full holiday meal, and it got their wheels turning. Diane Jarvis, now the executive director of Cor Unum, conducted research and needs analysis. Plans were made and fundraising began.

The groundbreaking campaign Labels Are For Jars raised over $2 million to build and operate Cor Unum. Its message was that we should not label people in need, we should simply help them. Celebrities like comedian Conan O’Brien and professional baseball player Sean Casey championed the cause. The meal center opened its doors on September 30, 2006, and hasn’t missed a meal since.

Dining Kiosk Serves Volunteers

Freestanding Silver Cor Unum

Cor Unum Volunteer Dining Kiosk (rendering)

In 2008, Diane Jarvis decided she needed an interactive kiosk to organize and serve her army of volunteers. A Google search brought her to Advanced Kiosks where our Founder and President Howard Horn stepped her through her options. Diane chose the Freestanding Kiosk because it was durable, easy to install, and mobile. It was a sleek machine that could be wheeled around to where it was needed without damaging the walls of the beautiful, new dining facility.

Cor Unum was already using Volgistics volunteer tracking and management software. Our Zamok Kiosk Software made it easy to integrate with their existing system. Zamok’s lockdown kiosk software keeps the volunteer kiosk secure. It is always locked down to VicTouch, Volgistics’ software module specifically for on-site touchscreen kiosks.

A Decade of Nonstop Kiosk Action

Every day for ten years, 50 to 75 Cor Unum volunteers have used our touchscreen dining kiosk to log in and out of their shifts. That’s hundreds of interactions each day for 3,650 straight days. But that’s not all the kiosk is used for. Volunteers also use it to schedule their time, check their schedules, receive messages from the organization, and fill out their annual background check applications.

Diane reports the high-use kiosk is left on 24-7. Our free GreenTimer software is included with every kiosk purchase. It helps conserve energy when the kiosk is not being used (overnight, between meals, etc.) and automatically restarts the kiosk’s computer daily to keep it running smoothly. Just like your PC at home, regular reboots are necessary to clear the cache and prevent the system from getting bogged down.

Here’s to 10 More Years!

Cor Unum relied on our freestanding dining kiosk for a decade. It served faithfully, just like the legions of volunteers serving the hungry. The only maintenance it needed was when the computer inside had to be upgraded in 2014. You know how Windows hardware is always evolving.

“I’ve definitely been pleased with Advanced Kiosks’ support,” Diane reports. “Of course I haven’t really needed to use it. The kiosk has always been reliable.”

When it finally came time to replace the whole unit recently, Diane came right back to us and ordered the same model. She knows the power of the Advanced Kiosks Advantage!

If you need a durable, high-use kiosk that is just as dependable as your hardworking volunteers, contact us today. We’ll help you build a volunteer kiosk guaranteed to stand the test of time.


Written by Amy Robison, contributing author

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