Feed Medical Lake is still going strong, two years into its operation.
The progress made by the monthly program easily puts a smile on organizer Joanna Williams’ face, when looking back at all of the families it has served at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Medical Lake.
The program serves a free meal on the second Monday of the month to residents of Medical Lake and surrounding areas, bringing together a synthesis of community and charity. The food has received rave reviews, as well.
Celebrating its second anniversary, Feed Medical Lake will feature hamburgers, hot dogs, vegetables and typical summer fare Monday, June 10 at 5 p.m.
“I can’t believe how good it’s going,” Williams said.
The June 10 event will also feature a number of games for all ages, ranging from a ring toss and duck pond for younger children while a cakewalk and prize wheel will keep adults entertained throughout the evening. Various companies in the area have donated prizes for the event, reinforcing the community message of the program.
“People are getting behind us with this celebration and supplying us with gifts to give away or food donations,” Williams said. “We hope to get a lot of people for this one.”
The program started as a way to help the homeless, underemployed, unemployed and others who may be struggling with a meal. Since then, it has evolved into more of a community event, drawing a wide array of diners from the region.
“Now, everybody is starting to come in from all walks of life,” Williams said.
Regardless of what’s happening in each other’s lives, the dinner is a place for everyone to come together, Williams said.
“Something that started out for people in need is turning into this wonderful community event,” she said. “We’re just building community within this program, and I see it happening every month.”
The result of the community building at the meal creates a family-friendly atmosphere for everyone involved, from the diners to those working in the kitchen.
“I’m one of those who believes that if you can get your community together, there will be fewer problems,” she said. “I guess that’s also the goal, even though I didn’t plan it that way. When you plant a seed, you never know what that flower will ultimately look like.”
Thus far, Feed Medical Lake has averaged around 60 diners per meal, although the number fluctuates depending on weather and the time of year.
After two years successfully growing along the way, Williams still has an eye to the future.
“There are a few irons in the fire,” she said regarding plans to expand the operation.
One item in consideration is how best to approach different dietary needs, whether that person is a vegetarian, is on a gluten-free diet or requires sugar free food. Even if someone’s dietary requirements are different, Williams still has a desire to feed that person.
As the program grows, it requires some helping hands along the way. Feed Medical Lake’s board of directors still has open positions, and Williams is searching for a volunteer treasurer to help with the financial records.
For Williams, the program provides a respite for those needing a night off from their busy schedule.
“The ones who need help need to be uplifted. They need to feel they are an integral and valued part of our community,” she said.
James Eik can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.