Free monthly meal in Medical Lake is a consistent success
Feed Medical Lake continued to enjoy success throughout 2012, providing a free meal every second Monday of the month.
The program, which has been running for a year and a half, has seen a regular attendance of around 55 to 60 diners at each meal. Last year, 644 meals were served to members of the community. There is no cost for the meal, and anyone from the public is welcome to take part.
“December is always a big meal,” organizer Joanna Williams said.
Last year was no exception to the rule, and proved to be the most-attended dinner service in 2012, and the second-largest since the program started in June 2011.
Williams is quick to thank her large group of volunteers, without whom the dinner wouldn’t be possible. Last year, 194 volunteers helped to serve hundreds of community members, providing a night of relief out of the kitchen.
“I’m so thrilled with the group of volunteers that I have,” she said. “I thank them from the bottom of my heart.”
Surveys taken throughout the year shows the breakdown of diners is fairly consistent. Just over 26 percent are 18 years old and under, 25 percent are ages 19 to 55 and 48 percent are ages 56 and over.
“We get a lot of people who say they come for the socialization,” Williams said.
In addition to the regular meal, Feed Medical Lake has been handing out groceries throughout the year. Volunteers distributed 3,460 pounds of groceries to diners throughout 2012. Comprised of yogurts, fresh produce, occasionally milk and some pastries, it’s an integral part of the program. The amount of groceries distributed is largely based on donations, according to Williams.
“It just depends on how donations go for the month,” she said.
June will mark the program’s second anniversary, and Williams said plans are being developed to make it a special event.
“We’re thinking ahead and always trying to find ways of getting people to be involved with the community,” Williams said.
With 2013 just getting underway, Williams said there are consistent discussions with the program’s board for a second meal, however there are a number of concerns involved. Questions about the number of volunteers needed and the logistics of going about a second meal are at the forefront of the discussion.
Other goals include purchasing a new stove to add to the one the program bought last year, and then to replace one of the refrigerators. Williams is also eyeing a locking freezer, in an effort to take advantage of meat sales.
“We can make the money stretch further,” she said.
This month’s Feed Medical Lake event is Monday, Jan. 14, at 5:30 p.m. St. John’s Lutheran Church hosts the program, and is located at 223 S. Hallett St. in Medical Lake.
James Eik can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.