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Community Lunch on Capitol Hill

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Congregate Meals, Food

Mission: For more than twenty-five years, Community Lunch on Capitol Hill has been passionate about its mission to provide nutritious meals and hospitality to low-income and homeless adults, youth, and families. Our mission statement: Feeding the Community, Serving the Community, Creating Community. Community Lunch creates community by bringing in volunteers from throughout the region to provide critical nutrition to the most vulnerable members of our community.

Results: Community Lunch now serves over 30,000 hot meals each year, averaging 250 guests at each lunch. Hundreds of volunteers from throughout the region make this possible on a shoe-string budget

Target demographics: Community Lunch is open to all with no questions asked, but our primary demographic is homeless and low-income people in the Seattle area.

Geographic areas served: Seattle metro

Programs: In addition to the full, free hot meal Community Lunch provides other services to those guests who request them. We have a social worker, information and referral specialists, mental health experts, medical advice, free flu shots (in season), clothing, toiletries and a book exchange

Community Stories

16 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This place does an amazing job of feeding a whole lot of people. When possible, they give out toiletries as well.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered periodically over the past 4 or so years at Community Lunch on Capitol Hill. It is so well organized and so well run. There is always plenty of food for all the folks that need it. Don does a tremendous job. The main course is always healthy. There is food prepared for the folks to take with them. Sometimes there are hygiene products there.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering for Community Lunch is such a rewarding experience because of everyone involved - from the staff, to the Board of Directors, Central Lutheran Church, All Pilgrims Church, and all the other congregations, a host of volunteers and especially our guests. It's always such a joy for me to return and see all the familiar faces.
Kudos go especially to the Director, Don Jensen (arm twister extrordinaire) who has an incredible ability to find the amazing amount of resources that it takes to make this program such a success.

The challenges we face in helping those in need will continue and may even increase in the future which makes it even more imperative that we all support successful programs like this one.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been volunteering for what is now Community Lunch for 15 years. When I began it was a small program administered by Lutheran Social Services which relied on volunteer church congregations to provide and serve homemade pots of soup, bread and homemade desserts to 75 to 100 guests once a week. I still marvel at the changes that have happened to this service since that time! We now serve full balanced meals with a choice of hot entrees to 200 - 300 guests twice a week, and in addition, offer social services to help guests find access to other community and government resources. A large part of the credit for the excellence of the program is to due to the current director. He has done an amazing job of: finding cost-free resources (restaurants, grocery stores and food banks) for the high quality food stuffs used in the meals we serve; obtaining donations from companies and organizations for equipment such as freezers, refrigerators and stoves; organizing and administering fund raisers; and most of all recruiting volunteers.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This program is over twenty years old and has grown from serving ten meals twice a week to serving over 250 people every Tuesday and Friday noon. Everyone enjoys the hot entrees and the variety of fresh salads, yoghut and deserts. I have been helping for several years and I appreciate the time with the clients and the other volunteers and staff . It becomes like an extended, caring family having a good meal together.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered last Spring for 4 months as a service learning experience for my school. It was one of the best volunteering experiences I have ever had because of that fact we were given the opportunity to have face to face interactions with the clients and the jobs were varied. Part of it was due to the great vibe the volunteers had when we all worked together (it was a lot of fun) and the other part was the interactions with the clients. Not only were they fed with hot delicious food every Tuesday and Friday, but I felt they were treated with respect and dignity, which is important since society tries to make these marginalized people invisible or feel shame for getting help. I liked the fact that we didn't ID anyone or make them have to attend programs to enable them to eat. Furthermore, even though we couldn't given them double portions when they got their food, they were always welcome to go back in line as many times as they wished, and were given the option to get to go containers when we would have extra food. It was open to anyone and everyone no strings attached. =)

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A team of co-workers and I volunteered at the Community Lunch on Capitol Hill almost three years ago and have been going back ever since! This is a great place ran by great people! Several of our team members, including myself have gone back to Community Lunch to help prepare and serve hot meals. I always leave there amazed at the efficiency, sense of community and the overwhelming amount of food! Community Lunch has served a different meal every time I have ever volunteered. These meals are not only hot and healthy, but tasty too! The patrons are welcomed at the front door, receive a hot meal served on real plates, they are even given to go boxes and sometimes toiletries. This is a warm and safe environment not only for the homeless, but for the volunteers. I enjoy volunteering at the Community Lunch on Capitol Hill as I feel I benefit just as much as the patrons we serve. I highly recommend anyone getting involved with the Community Lunch Program!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is an outstanding program and a great place to volunteer. The program is very well run, high quality food is consistently prepared and clients are treated with respect and dignity. It is a warm, welcoming and supportive atmosphere. It is also a lot of fun to volunteer here. There are volunteers who have participated for many years and are deeply committed to the needs of the people being served.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at the Community Lunch for the past six years as "emergency staff". I respond when the volunteer count is light. This is an amazing organization which Don Jenson leads with real heart. The comradery of the volunteers, from all walks of life, is extraordinary and the need for this service has, sadly, grown considerably. The nutritional quality of the meals has improved immensely in recent years and Don as has developed a remarkable network of food sources including farmer's markets, restaurants, major grocery chains and many others.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our team volunteered for the first time a few years ago for our Day of Caring Event. It was a very rewarding experience! The program is very well run, Don Jensen does a great job managing the volunteers as well as the customers who come in to take advantage of the food. For me personally, it was an eye opening experience to spend the lunch hour serving and connecting with people who are homeless or need assistance with food. For me that was the real benefit of volunteering there - you have the chance to connect with the people coming for lunch. That year, my family and some friends volunteered to serve Thanksgiving lunch based on my own experiences there earlier in the year - it was a great experience.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I need to go back and volunteer again because it was very rewarding. I had a good experience and I think Don Jensen does a great job getting the word out and getting people involved. The clients are appreciative for the most part...

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was invited by a friend to volunteer on a friday morning. It was an incredible experience to serve the homeless. It made me appreciate my life style a whole lot! The regular volunteers are awesome and seem passionate about what they do. Also, they are very organized and you can tell they know what they are doing; maybe it is all those years of experience! I came back recently to volunteer again and I felt thay anything I can contribute it was valuable. Again, the regular volunteers made me feel welcome and gave me the oportunity to serve along side them. The homeless people are very respectul and grateful for the service they recieved.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering at the Community Lunch on Capitol Hill fo rmany years. I began when Central Lutheran Church was teh sponsor of the program. Since Don Jenson has become the director the program and grown and improved in it's ability to provide healthy, hot and tasty meals. With the addition of a van Don now has the ability to share resources with other feeding programs, so surplus in one program can be used by another program. The volunteers who work there are an open and acceping group who work hard and have fun doing it.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with this organization for the past 15 years or so. At first I was part of a church group that prepared meals a few times each year, when the current director took over in 2002, he asked if was possible to help with meal planning and food preparation more often. At that time we were serving about 150 guests hot lunches twice a week. Currently between 250 and 300 guests are served hot lunches twice a week and planning is underway to start serving an evening meal. This service has started with an evening meal once a month with the intent of it becoming a weekly event. The director has engaged some of the guests as paid help, providing income for people who otherwise were unable to find employment. The organization has moved from a well meaning group of volunteers providing a much needed service to a well managed organization with upgraded equipment and planning. The volunteers are still the backbone of Community Lunch but leadership of the current director has made this group much more effective and productive.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This agency is really amazing. The name "Community Lunch" captures the spirit of the work, because the agency treats all guests and volunteers and donors with love and respect, so it really creates a sense of community. Many Lunch guests are "regulars," know and look out for each other, and create a feeling of family. Many volunteers are regulars too, so there is a strong sense of shared purpose among the volunteers and between the volunteers and the guests. The staff is great. They run a tight ship without being uptight. The atmosphere is relaxed, even joyous. I really enjoy volunteering for the Lunch and am a loyal donor.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Let me add bit of information I had gathered. Most of the people working in a toxic environment, really forget their lunch meal. Maybe, coffee or cigarette breaks are more common than the lunch break, which is often, spent wolfing down a quick meal at the desk. There are some more productive things to use a lunch break for, even though no one really can tell you how to spend your lunch hour. That said – who actually GETS an hour? I don't know anyone that gets more than a half hour. More people have more of a power lunch than anything – in that they don't leave their desk for long – so I guess more people lunch for success, but that has more to do with just having to stay on top of work load so they don't end up needing payday loans or unemployment benefits. A little exercise is good – but who EVER have enough time? I don't know anyone who gets a full hour.