In honor of National Nutrition Month, our Director of Food Programs wanted to share how MCC works to ensure everyone who comes to us for food during the week has well-balanced nutrition, and why that is important.
MCC’s meals program is one of the foundational support services we offer, as we’ve easily served over 7 million meals over 97 years to the most vulnerable members of our community.
How many meals do we serve on average each year?
We help provide around 100,000 meals to community members in need every year. This includes our daily hot breakfast and lunches, sack lunches for those who are going out to work for the day and food items for those living in our transitional housing.
That’s a lot of food – how do you approach planning out meals to make sure every plate is nutritious and delicious?
Each day is like an episode of “Chopped” here, we look at what we have and our kitchen staff whips up some incredible dishes: salmon steak, barbecue chicken, beef stroganoff and more. We’re making well-rounded meals out of donated food from our partners at Northwest Harvest, Food Lifeline, SeaShare, Dick’s Drive In and many others who make our meals program possible. We try to make sure we include a lot of fresh fruit and veggies along with protein and starches.
Sometimes the food people eat here is all they will have in a day, so we try to make it filling and make sure each food group is represented. We also conduct a survey each year to make sure those who are eating the food each day have chance to weigh in on what they like and don’t like and where we can make improvements.
Other than just the food, what is important for people to know about the meals program?
There is a sense of community in the meal hall. We have wonderful volunteers and staff who try to greet everyone with a smile and make eating here an enjoyable experience, even if they are going through a hard time.
Everyone who comes here has a story. A lot of times a meal here at MCC can be an entry point toward getting a job or finding out they can access a variety of other support services through our supportive employment program.
How can people support your efforts to feed every person who comes to MCC for a meal?
We’re so grateful to the many wonderful lunchtime volunteers, those who help serve the special holiday meals we put on in November and December, and of course all the people and organizations who donate food or funds to keep our kitchen up and running.
If people are interested in volunteering with the meals program, they can contact our Meals Operations Manager, Tammy Cable, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Even small donations go a long way to provide healthy, filling and hot meals to the people we serve each day.