I worked with Davis Community Meals regularly on Saturdays for several helping serve people in the community. The need for and appreciation of this organization is huge. DCM not only provides a shelter to those in need of a place to stay, but also regular meals to families and individuals in need. DCM has become a family to homeless, needy and even lonely folks throughout the Yolo community.
Working as a volunteer for DCM has been one of the most rewarding opportunities I've had. The shelter provides a wide range of resources from a long term transitional housing program, to a day shelter open to the entire homeless population, to a cold weather shelter available for individuals looking for a place to stay during the harsh winter. The organization also provides meals throughout the week. The staff there are nice and compassionate about helping the needs of the homeless population.
I have been a volunteer cook and general gopher for Davis Community Meals since 1991. There are many long-term volunteers. My term of service is not exceptional. I have seen the program grow from one meal per week to currently include 3 meals per week, a long-term shelter, a cold weather shelter and recovery/support services plus more. The volunteers are a sensitive, caring,dedicated group of men and women and young people. From my kitchen perspective the meals are prepared with attention to nutrition, balance, fresh produce of California and food safety. The dinners are restaurant quality, the atmosphere is pleasant and people who ordinarily would not be able to eat out enjoy a quality dining experience. Davis Community Meals is aptly named. It definitely improves the lives of many of its marginalized community members.
Helping with cooking in the kitchen one Tuesday a week during the summer is both fun and rewarding for me. I'm impressed with how many people enthusiastically take part in collecting and delivering donated food, sorting the food, cooking a nutritious and appealing meal with whatever happens to come in that day, and staying to clean the kitchen so all will be ready for serving that same evening. We share extra food with other non-profits like the Senior Center and Grace in Action. Also individual guests can come pick up surplus produce to take home. It is great fun to sort and set out extra fruits and vegetables in attractive displays like a little Farmer's Market with good things to eat. During the school year, I help the Unity in Community group set up, serve and clean up after the meal once a month. At the dinner guests and volunteers treat each other with mutual appreciation, respect and equality which I find truly wonderful
Over the last four years I have learned that DCM has 7 programs that benefit the homeless or nearly homeless in Davis. With few paid staff and a tiny budget, this non-profit works to feed people healthy food, make them aware of and teach them how and when to contact the few resources available, house them, shelter them in cold weather, do laundry, counsel, and provide an address, support former foster children as they tackle college -- and always treat people facing incredible challenges with dignity and warmth. I love volunteering for them and giving them money. DCM is awesome!