“We serve multiple meals daily to an average of 150 people and have never missed a meal service in the last four decades. Through government shutdowns, pandemic chaos, and bad weather, our table has been set, and doors open for all who need a fresh hot meal. Our anniversary year began with a stark reminder that food insecurity is still prevalent, homelessness is on the rise, and access to daily necessities is more critical than ever; we have seen a 58% increase in meals served daily in the first seven months of 2023.
Inflation has continued to rise post-pandemic; the Washington Metropolitan area must have a reliable source for consistent free, hot, and healthy meals as many face food insecurity – some for the first time. This increased need comes at a crucial time, as many COVID-19 relief programs are ending. This includes the end of emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) payments that provide families with increased monthly food assistance. According to the USDA, “the average price of all grocery items rose 9% in 2023.”
“Our programming was designed to foster a safe community where individuals facing inequalities can pursue meaningful transformation in small steps or giant leaps,” Executive Director Manny Hidalgo said in a press release. “We aim to address disparities in our community and care system by offering tangible support to individuals facing homelessness, health issues, lack of affordable housing, and food insecurity. Our work doesn’t stop with just food–we believe a hot and fresh meal can be the entry point to a larger journey of healing and empowerment.”
“This is an excellent opportunity to celebrate the communities and individuals who have made our last impact possible and have a chance to be a part of our continued growth,” the organization said.
Graphic Courtesy of Shepherd’s Table