DESK Snapshot

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.

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    1987

    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.

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    2003

    DESK began serving evening meals 5 nights a week and provided a Food Pantry twice a month.

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    2004

    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.

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    2005

    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 .

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    2007

    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.

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    2008

    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.

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    2008

    DESK began going “Green” in 2008 by recycling all recyclable items.

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    2009

    DESK continued going “green” by refurbishing its commercial dishwasher and substituting Styrofoam plates & cups to washable & reusable trays & cups for evening meals.

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    2009

    DESK renovated it’s pantry in 2009. Replacing shelving and adding a commercial 2 door freezer.

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    2009

    DESK opened Thunder’s Pantry, a weekly pet food pantry program.

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    2010

    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.

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    2010

    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.

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    2011

    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.

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    2016

    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.

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    2016

    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.

Services Provided

DESK serves people who are experiencing homelessness or living in poverty by providing food assistance and services that promote healthcommunity, and equity.  Our programs are generally geared toward individuals and families with children who are experiencing food insecurity.

DESK serves dinner Sunday through Thursday at our main dining room at the Center Church Parish House (311 Temple St. in New Haven).  On Fridays and Saturdays, we partner with the Yale Hunger Heroes to serve at the United Church Parish House (323 Temple St.).  In addition to providing nutritious meals, DESK ensures that our dining room is a safe and welcoming space for all.  We foster a sense of community by encouraging our guests and volunteers to hang out, chat, and learn from each other.  DESK partners with other service providers, including Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center, Columbus House, and the Women & Families Center, to provide other onsite services, all toward the goal of lifting our clients out of poverty and toward stability and equity.  Altogether, DESK’s Evening Meal program serves about 1,500 unduplicated individuals annually.
Each night after dinner, DESK distributes bag lunches to ensure that those who cannot get to the lunch-time soup kitchens (Community Soup Kitchen on Broadway and St. Anne’s in Hamden) have something for the next day.
Every Wednesday, DESK opens its doors at 1:45 pm to offer groceries, recipes, and a sense of community to those in need. The program serves between 50 and 150 households each week, depending on the time of year and time of month.  Altogether, the DESK Food Pantry serves about 1,200 unduplicated households annually.

DESK Food Totals 2004-2011

  2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Evening meals 30,218 44,406 49,671 78,016 100,660 101,963 112,324 117,250
Pantry food bags 4,405 5,787 10,475 24,710 24,199 56,392 58,678 61,020
Bag lunches 6,102 6,280 5,872 6,800 8,700 11,980 17,880 18,160

DESK Staff

  • Steve Werlin  |  Executive Director
  • Meagan Howard  |  Program Manager
  • Henry Bullock  |  Facilities Coordinator
  • Louis Love | Food Acquisitions Coordinator

DESK Board of Directors

  • Daniel P. Scholfield, Esq. | President | Lynch, Traub, Keefe, & Errante
  • Mark Fagan Vice President | Coldwell Banker
  • Cynthia McCarroll | Treasurer | US Postal Service (ret.)
  • Scott McLean, Ph.D. | Secretary | Quinnipiac University
  • Emily Bordersat-large | Yale Hospitality
  • Linda Carbone at large | Yale University
  • Liz Cox | at-large | Common Ground High School
  • Natalie Judd | at-large | Big Voice Communications
  • Luis Pagan | at-large | Center Church on the Green
  • Prerna Rao, Esq.at-large | Rao Legal, LLC
  • Kaitlyn Sabin | ex-officio | Yale Hunger Heroes
  • Maurice Wareex-officio | Yale Hunger Heroes
  • Steve Werlin, Ph.D. | ex-officio | Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen, Inc.