As a child, my father was ill and could not work and despite the two or three jobs my mother worked, we never seemed to have enough money. There were holidays where neighbors brought clothes, other times when folks from church brought us boxes of food and even a time when our landlord forgave the rent because we didn’t have the money. Those memories were at the top of my mind when I saw the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen shortly after moving to New Haven in August of last year.
Since that time, I’ve prepped and served meals, helped to distribute food at our weekly pantry, joined the board of directors and, most recently, was elected to serve as the board’s President. As I look for ways to further our reach, grow our current programs and improve on our daily operations, not a moment goes by that I don’t think about our mission to serve the less fortunate. However, I’ve come to realize how easy it is to take a hot meal for granted.
Today, I didn’t eat breakfast and I had to make a quick trip to the bank. Afterward, I was feeling hungry so I stopped at Popeyes for some fried chicken. Having a few dollars in my pocket and a selection of plastic funds with which to purchase an inexpensive meal is something that I often take for granted. But remembering how special it was to have a Burger King cheeseburger or a few squares off of a Hershey bar as a child, I still have to constantly remind myself that not everyone has it so easy. I know that I am not the only person on DESK’s Board of Directors to have experienced truly hard times.
As you think about your own life, whether you have experienced food insecurity or not, it is my hope that you’ll be reminded of those who we serve each and every day. Many of the men, women and children who visit DESK will have a similar memory when they eat a hot meal in our kitchen that I had as a child visiting Burger King. It will be their special treat because, without it, they may not be eating anything at all.
Fortunately for our guests, we exist because of volunteers and donors like you. At a time of the year when we see much fewer donations that we do at year end, there are opportunities for us to stretch every dollar given even further. On May 3rd and 4th, the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven will hold The Great Give, a fundraising event that will provide matching funds and prizes for donations that are designated for the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen. It’s my honor to ask you to join me in making a contribution through The Great Give so that we can continue to serve those who are less fortunate.
Update May 9, 2015
Thanks to everyone who made The Great Give a super success this year. With your help, we were able to raise $3,825.00 plus we won a Golden Ticket prize of $500. Soon, we will find out how much we will receive in matching funds as well. In case you did not get a chance to give to DESK during The Great Give and are interested in making a contribution, you can do so by clicking here.