Our work has changed immensely since March. Frankly, we have never been so busy. Our effort has shifted from sheer operations to a new landscape that has no horizon in sight.
Your support has helped us to continue serving triple the amount of meals compared to this time last year. We have been surveying our guests and have quantified what we felt all along – the pandemic has had a major impact on our guest’s employment and need for food. We are encountering many people who are seeking out food assistance for the first time, along with the people who have always relied on our free, healthy meals.
I am not typically a worrier, and yet have found myself thinking and hoping for the best for the people who are isolated and alone. Many of our guests have asked when they can come back to the table so that they can eat with their friends. The answer is not clear. We are making plans site-by-site and designing safe traffic patterns, while also planning for what a to-go model may look like through the cold winter.
Our staff has bantered back and forth with how many times we hear: “During these unprecedented times.” For us it feels more like a ‘stretch’ – and perhaps it is ‘unparalleled.’ Yet through all of this, we’ve been deeply touched by the hope and care that our community has shown. Your generosity will help us continue to stretch and meet the increased need, serve the wonderful guests we have known for years, and welcome those who are new to our mission with meals, comfort and kindness.
CATHY MAES, Executive Director