For nearly 25 years The Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen (DESK) continues to consistently provide free direct food programs to the citizens of the New Haven Community. DESK‘s great community value is in its commitment & capacity to grow as the face of hunger grows. A snapshot of DESK shows this commitment.
DESK began serving evening meals three nights per week, one night at each of the three churches on the New Haven Green: Trinity Church, the First Church of Christ (Center Church) and The United Church.
DESK began serving evening meals 5 nights a week and provided a Food Pantry twice a month.
DESK added a weekly Food Pantry and daily bag lunches for the working poor & school age children to provide supplemental food for the growing number of working individuals & families in need of food.
DESK Friday evening meals were added and staffed by Yale Hunger Heroes, an undergraduate Yale Hunger & Homelessness Action Project group (YHHAP), specifically created to administer Friday meals during the academic year .
DESK renovated its kitchen to a commercial kitchen at 311 Temple Street. DESK expanded its kitchen equipment to include a steamer, convection oven & commercial refrigerator.
DESK centralized all of its operations. Centralizing the kitchen, dining hall, food pantry and bag lunch programs enabled DESK to serve more food variety with less stress & expense.
DESK began going “Green” in 2008 by recycling all recyclable items.
DESK continued going “green” by refurbishing its commercial dishwasher and substituting Styrofoam plates & cups to washable & reusable trays & cups for evening meals.
DESK renovated it’s pantry in 2009. Replacing shelving and adding a commercial 2 door freezer.
DESK opened Thunder’s Pantry, a weekly pet food pantry program.
DESK started a bi-weekly Senior Program, to supplement DESK senior guests with specific nutritionally designed food bags. Also in 2010, DESK Saturday evening meals were added and staffed by Yale Hunger Heroes, during the academic year.In addition, another YHHAP group, Kitchen to Kitchen continued rescuing food from Yale Dining Services for DESK on a weekly basis.
DESK has served over 104,000 free daily evening meals, 58,000 free pantry bags at the weekly pantry and 17,000 free bag lunches for the working poor.
DESK serves an evening meal 7 days a week, providing daily bag lunches, bi-weekly senior supplement food bags and providing a weekly food pantry & pet food pantry. Friday & Saturday meals are staffed by Yale Hunger Heroes, during the academic year. And Kitchen to Kitchen rescues food on a weekly basis for DESK and the Friday & Saturday kitchens. Yale Hunger Heroes & Kitchen to Kitchen ate both programs of YHHAP and continue to help DESK provide food daily. DESK is staffed by 3 full time employees and relies on over 400 volunteers per month to complete all the tasks DESK needs to accomplish its mission and direct food service programs.
100 children receive high quality backpack filled with nonperishable foods. Each week during the summer, children returned to have their bags filled again. The project was made possible through a $12,500 federal Community Development Block Grant.
DESK serves more guests than at any time during in its 29-year history.
With community help, DESK plans to continue its entire direct food service programs for years to come, meeting the food needs of a very diverse population in greater new haven.
The following are The Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen’s programs. These programs serve a very diverse community of at risk individuals, families & children who are “food insecure” in the greater New Haven area. These programs for many are providing the basic need of food on a consistent basis. In addition, DESK provides numerous volunteers opportunities for the entire New Haven community. All of these services are centralized at 311 Temple Street, DESK central kitchen, dining hall and food pantry.
DESK Food Totals 2004-2011
|Pantry food bags||4,405||5,787||10,475||24,710||24,199||56,392||58,678||61,020|
- Steve Werlin | Executive Director
- Meagan Lamberti | Evening Coordinator
- Henry Bullock | Pantry Coordinator
DESK Board of Directors
- Will Melton | President
- Mark Fagan | Vice President
- Cynthia McCarroll | Treasurer
- Scot McLean, Ph.D. | Secretary
- Liz Cox | Member-at-large
- Brandon Hudik | Member-at-large
- Robert LaRose | Member-at-large
- Luis Pagan | Member-at-large
- Daniel Scolfield | Member-at-large
- Rafi Taherian | Member-at-large