Hunger Fund Grant for Breakfast Program at Saint George's Church
Breakfast Feeds the Body and the Soul
Hunger in America
How important of an issue is hunger in America?
Feeding Breakfast to the Hungry Begins Early
It's 6:30am on a Saturday morning as the volunteers arrive sleepy-eyed to begin cracking eggs and mixing pancake batter at Saint George's Episcopal Church in Washington, DC.
Early arrival is imperative in order to get enough hot food in the hopper to start serving about 50 dine-in meals by 9:00am.
Patrons are also able to receive carryout packages for either themselves or for house-bound family and friends, in addition to dine-in plates.
The fast pace of the kitchen is maintained by the rhythm of gospel music and spirited conversations about current events. This outreach ministry, The Kwanzaa Kitchen Breakfast Program, is lovingly carried out every other Saturday throughout the year by a group of very dedicated volunteers.
It is one of several feeding programs in the Washington metropolitan area that is funded by the Episcopal Diocese of Washington (EDOW) Hunger Fund.
Hebrews 13:2 (ESV)
"Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."
Feeding Programs Provide Nutritious Meals to the Needy
The Kwanzaa Kitchen Breakfast Program
The Kwanzaa Kitchen, located in Washington, DC, began as a small breakfast program to serve homeless men and needy families. It was patterned after the Black Panthers Breakfast Program for Hungry Children in Los Angeles, CA and Chicago, IL.
The first breakfast, held on November 11, 1992 at Saint George's, fed about twenty patrons, served by four volunteers.
Over the years, the numbers grew as the dire need for a hot, nutritious morning meal became more apparent in the community.
Today, the breakfast program has surpassed 20 years of service to the hungry, averaging about 200 meals served per breakfast.
The menu includes scrambled eggs with cheese, turkey bacon, pancakes, seasonal grits or cereal, coffee, and juice. We also serve fresh fruit for special occasions and holidays.
Isaiah 58:10 (ESV)
"If you pour yourself out for the hungry, and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday."
Patrons begin to trickle in around 8-8:30 am, coming in from their homes, halfway houses, and shelters. Seated in the dining area, they read, fellowship, and listen to music as they wait patiently for breakfast to be served. On occasion, patrons will ask to help and will gladly assist with table setting.
At about 8:50 am, the program coordinator leaves the pancake grill for the dining area to read a scripture for meditation, followed by a prayer and blessing of the food.
Before plating the food, another prayer is offered in the kitchen to bless the volunteers.
Each patron is served at tables, set with place mats, utensils, and condiments.
After all dine-ins are served, volunteers begin to bag and disseminate carryout meals by ticket numbers, until all patrons are served.
Left over carryout packages are taken to an area shelter.
Food Preparation I - Scrambled Eggs and Turkey BaconClick thumbnail to view full-size
Food Preparation II - PancakesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Breakfast Up and Ready To ServeClick thumbnail to view full-size
Volunteer Assembly Line for Carryout Meals
Kwanzaa Kitchen Volunteers and Tasks
It takes about six core volunteers to carry out the breakfast ministry on a typical Saturday. The main tasks include food preparation, cooking, table and condiment set-ups, plating, serving, dissemination of carryouts, and clean-up.
Shopping for the breakfast items the night before is also a task that is alternated between core volunteers. Food preparation and ministry tasks includes:
- Cracking and beating 45 dozen eggs
- Laying and baking 20 packages of turkey bacon
- Mixing 30 pounds of pancake mix (with cinnamon)
- Cooking about 5 pounds of grits
- Filling approximately 400 to 500 cups with margarine and syrup for the carryouts
- Maintaining receipts of expenses, documentation of patron attendance, and meals served for quarterly financial reports and annual application to the Hunger Fund Grant
Another 6 to 8 volunteers are needed to set tables with condiments, refresh coffee, and monitor sign-in and carryout order sheets. Some volunteers plate the food while others serve patrons at their tables. They also serve juice at each table.
Volunteers are comprised of church members, community members, fraternities, sororities, and high school students who need hours for community service.
Grant Funds Feed Returning Patrons
Our Patrons Enjoy the Fellowship
Breakfast Program Patron Testimonials
Patrons were asked why they like our breakfast program, what they get out of it, and what keeps them coming back:
- "On cold days like this, it gives us a chance to come in out of the cold and get a good meal. You have the best breakfast in the city, by far, top of the line. You feel the love in here; people know that they [volunteers] care."
- "I been homeless for years, the food is good, gets me out of a rut, samething everyday, back and forth; it's a nice place to come and eat and fellowship."
- "The spiritual atmoshphere, you all show that you care. People come here with a lot on their minds and get a feeling of peace. It's not just for the food; it's to get peace of mind."
How The Hunger Fund Grant Works
Every year, the Kwanzaa Kitchen applies for a grant to run the breakfast program. The Hunger Fund Committee meets every other month to review grant applications and make decisions to award funds to various types of feeding programs in the Washington area.
Some provide breakfast, some serve dinner, and others dole out bags of groceries or emergency food packages to the needy. Once the application is made, the program is notified within a week or two that they have been approved to receive a grant in the amount requested.
The grant fund is not a line-item in the Diocesan budget and is soley dependent on donations from congregations within the Episcopal Diocese, as well as other generous donors in the community.
The Kwanzaa Kitchen participates in the monthly collection of donations called "Hunger Fund Sunday" where each family is asked to drop one dollar into a special plate on third Sundays. These funds are sent to the Diocese from Episcopal churches in the area to maintain the fund throughout the year.
It is stipulated that all grants are to be used for food items and paper supplies only and is not to be applied toward any adminstrative costs. Each recipient program must submit a detailed accounting of how the funds were spent before application for another grant is accepted.
The Hunger Fund Grant
- The purpose of the Hunger Fund is to provide grants to churches, non-profits, and community organizations that feed those challenged with hunger and malnutrition within the geographic boundaries of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.
- It is a vehicle by which Christians can do their part toward alleviating hunger in their communities. There are 18 feeding programs in the Washington area that continue, year after year, to give volunteers an opportunity to make a difference.
- A total of $78,514 have been granted to these programs since 2009 ranging from $750 to $5000. The Kwanzaa Kitchen receives a grant in the amount of $3,500.
For more information, visit Diocesan Hunger Fund at the Episcopal Diocese of Washington website.
How Do You Rate The Kwanzaa Kitchen as a Recipient of the Hunger Fund Grant?
Kwanzaa Kitchen is at Saint George's Episcopal Church
H.O.W. To Make A Difference
Humanity One World (H.O.W.) is a movement initiated by a Hubpages writer named Bill Holland, aka billybuc.
Bill challenges all of us writers, individually and collectively, to do something to make a difference in our world of despair, violence, hunger, and disillusionment, by spreading love through action.
This article and ministry is my contribution to the movement. For more information, visit Humanity One World.
© 2012 Janis Leslie Evans