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Hunger Fund Grant for Outreach Breakfast Ministry

Janis is heavily involved in community service which includes running a bi-weekly breakfast program for the homeless and families in need.

Breakfast Feeds the Body and the Soul

Hot pancakes are served at the Kwanzaa Kitchen Breakfast Program along with scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, grits, juice, and coffee.

Hot pancakes are served at the Kwanzaa Kitchen Breakfast Program along with scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, grits, juice, and coffee.

Feeding Breakfast to the Hungry Begins Very Early

It's 6:30am on a Saturday morning as the volunteers arrive sleepy-eyed to begin cracking eggs and mixing pancake batter at Saint George's Episcopal Church in Washington, DC.

Early arrival is imperative in order to get enough hot food in the hopper to start boxing up carryout trays to be bagged by 9:00am. Until recently, we served dine-in meals and carry outs. But due to the coronavirus, we have switched to breakfast bags-to-go only as we follow safe practices for our volunteers and patrons.

Patrons receive carryout packages for either themselves or for house-bound family and friends. The packages are handed to the patrons outside of the church. Volunteers deliver breakfast directly to seniors in their homes and to area shelters.

The fast pace of the kitchen is maintained by the rhythm of contemporary gospel music and spirited conversations about current events. This outreach ministry, the Kwanzaa Kitchen Breakfast Program, is lovingly carried out every other Saturday throughout the year by a group of very dedicated volunteers.

It is one of several feeding programs in the Washington metropolitan area that is funded by the Episcopal Diocese of Washington (EDOW) Hunger Fund.

Feeding Programs Provide Nutritious Meals to the Needy

Some patrons have been attending for years to enjoy a nutritious meal.

Some patrons have been attending for years to enjoy a nutritious meal.

The Kwanzaa Kitchen Breakfast Program

The Kwanzaa Kitchen, located in Washington, DC, began as a small breakfast program to serve homeless men and needy families. It was patterned after the Black Panthers Breakfast Program for Hungry Children in Los Angeles, CA and Chicago, IL.

The first breakfast, held on November 11, 1992 at Saint George's, fed about twenty patrons, served by four volunteers.

Over the years, the numbers grew as the dire need for a hot, nutritious morning meal became more apparent in the community.

Today, the breakfast program has surpassed 27 years of service to the hungry, averaging about 150 meals served per breakfast.

The menu includes scrambled eggs with cheese, turkey bacon, pancakes, seasonal grits or cereal, coffee, and juice. We also serve fresh fruit for special occasions and holidays. We recently added small snack bags of crackers, juice, cereal bars, and apple sauce cups the patron can use later. We also get donations of toiletries and much needed personal care items to disseminate on occasion.

Breakfast Bags-To-Go

Before the pandemic, patrons would begin to trickle in around 8-8:30 am, coming in from their homes, halfway houses, and shelters. Seated in the dining area, they read, fellowship, and listen to music as they wait patiently for breakfast to be served. On occasion, patrons will ask to help and will gladly assist with table setting.

With the uncertainty of COVID-19, patrons are unable to come in for fellowship. Instead, they arrive around 9am outside the church gate and social distance as the wait for the bags-to-go.

Before bagging the carry outs, a prayer is offered in the kitchen to bless the food and the volunteers. Volunteers tally the count for bags disseminated to the patrons, those taken for delivery, and those taken to the shelter.

Volunteer Assembly Line for Carryout Meals

Volunteers take their positions and fill carryout trays.

Volunteers take their positions and fill carryout trays.

Program coordinator flips pancakes.

Program coordinator flips pancakes.

Condiment cups are filled for the carryouts.

Condiment cups are filled for the carryouts.

Kwanzaa Kitchen Volunteers and Tasks

It takes about six core volunteers to carry out the breakfast ministry on a typical Saturday. The main tasks include food preparation, cooking, condiment set-ups, bagging, dissemination of carry outs, and clean-up.

Shopping for the breakfast items is also a task that is alternated between core volunteers. Food preparation and ministry tasks includes:

  • Cracking and beating about 20 dozen eggs for fresh scrambled eggs
  • Laying and baking 16 to 20 packages of turkey bacon
  • Mixing approximately 30 pounds of pancake mix (with cinnamon)
  • Cooking about 2-1/2 pounds of grits
  • Filling cups with margarine and syrup for the carry outs
  • Cleaning and disinfecting all counters, pots, and utensils
  • Maintaining receipts of expenses, documentation of patron attendance, and meals served for quarterly financial reports and annual application to the Hunger Fund Grant

Volunteers are comprised of church members, community members, fraternities, sororities, and high school students who need hours for community service.

Our Patrons Enjoy the Fellowship

Patrons enjoy the atmosphere and the fellowship

Patrons enjoy the atmosphere and the fellowship

Grant Funds Feed Returning Patrons

Patrons and volunteers celebrated 27 years of the breakfast program.

Patrons and volunteers celebrated 27 years of the breakfast program.

Breakfast Program Patron Testimonials

Patrons were asked why they like our breakfast program, what they get out of it, and what keeps them coming back:

  • "On cold days like this, it gives us a chance to come in out of the cold and get a good meal. You have the best breakfast in the city, by far, top of the line. You feel the love in here; people know that they [volunteers] care."
  • "I been homeless for years, the food is good, gets me out of a rut, samething everyday, back and forth; it's a nice place to come and eat and fellowship."
  • "The spiritual atmoshphere, you all show that you care. People come here with a lot on their minds and get a feeling of peace. It's not just for the food; it's to get peace of mind."

Dine-In Style Breakfast is Served

A hot nutritious plate is served to each guest.

A hot nutritious plate is served to each guest.

How The Hunger Fund Grant Works

Every year, the Kwanzaa Kitchen applies for a grant to run the breakfast program. The Hunger Fund Committee has quarterly meetings in addition to meeting twice a year to review grant applications and make decisions to award funds to various types of feeding programs in the Washington area.

Some provide breakfast, some serve dinner, and others dole out bags of groceries or emergency food packages to the needy. Once the application is made, the program is notified within a week or two that they have been approved to receive a grant in the amount requested.

The grant fund is not a line-item in the Diocesan budget and is dependent on the sole donations from congregations within the Episcopal Diocese, as well as other generous donors in the community.

The Kwanzaa Kitchen participates in the monthly collection of donations called "Hunger Fund Sunday" where each family is asked to drop one dollar into a special plate on third Sundays. These funds are sent to the Diocese from Episcopal churches in the area to maintain the fund throughout the year.

It is stipulated that all grants are to be used for food items and paper supplies only and is not to be applied toward any administrative costs. Each recipient program must submit a detailed accounting of how the funds were spent before application for another grant is considered.

The Hunger Fund Grant

  • The purpose of the Hunger Fund is to provide grants to churches, non-profits, and community organizations that feed those challenged with hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition within the geographic boundaries of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.
  • It is a vehicle by which Christians can do their part toward alleviating hunger in their communities. There are several feeding programs in the Washington area that continue, year after year, to give volunteers an opportunity to make a difference.
  • In 2018, a total of 11 programs received grants ranging from $1,000 to $4,000. The Kwanzaa Kitchen received a grant in the amount of $3,300.

For more information, visit Diocesan Hunger Fund at the Episcopal Diocese of Washington website.

H.O.W. To Make A Difference

Humanity One World (H.O.W.) is a movement initiated by a Hubpages writer named Bill Holland, aka billybuc.

Bill challenges all of us writers, individually and collectively, to do something to make a difference in our world of despair, violence, hunger, and disillusionment, by spreading love through action.

This article and ministry is my contribution to the movement. For more information, visit Humanity One World.

Hunger in America

© 2012 Janis Leslie Evans


Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on July 15, 2013:

Thank you for reading it, DDE. It is a ministry and fellowship of volunteers and patrons that we love.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on July 15, 2013:

Awesome idea the How To Prepare and Serve Breakfast for the Needy with Grant Funding / Kwanzaa Kitchen Program, you have written such a thoughtful hub

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on May 29, 2013:

Thanks, Writer Fox. It is a labor of love. We actually have a great time doing it. The fellowship among volunteers is a major part of the ministry. Glad you liked it, thanks for stopping by.

Writer Fox from the wadi near the little river on May 29, 2013:

This looks like a wonderful project and I applaud you for donating your time and efforts there. You touch a great number of people.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on January 02, 2013:

Please come back soon, Renee, we'd love to have you. Thanks for stopping by and commenting from first-hand experience with the program.

Renee' D. Campbell from Gaithersburg, Maryland on January 02, 2013:

Great hub! The Kwanzaa Kitchen has been one of my favorite parts of St. G's -hope to get some free time soon to come help again - it was great when I first started helping a looooong time ago -feels good to give back!

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on January 01, 2013:

Thank you so much, DPL. I appreciate your comment.

DLP St. Georgian on January 01, 2013:

Great article Janis. I know that you put much effort and time in this project. With God's help, all things are possible.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on December 28, 2012:

Thank you for that, expertscolumn. I'm so happy you enjoyed this hub. We love serving at the breakfast program. It's a labor of agape love. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

Stanley Soman from New York on December 28, 2012:

Wonderful, just wonderful, God bless those who help knowing its their time and energy being spent for a stranger. They'll certainly get their reward in this lifetime or in the one to come

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on December 20, 2012:

Thank you kindly, lovedoctor926, for stopping by. I appreciate you commenting, voting up and sharing!

lovedoctor926 on December 20, 2012:

Awesome idea and one of the best that I've read so far. I found this hub very interesting and useful. voting up & sharing.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on December 20, 2012:

Thanks, Matt, you're welcome. Thanks for stopping by.

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on December 20, 2012:

Thank you for this.I wish you the best in this worth while project.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on December 20, 2012:

Hi Curiad, thanks for stopping by. You can email me for more detailed information. I'm the outreach co-chair and program coordinator for StG's. Also, if you go to the Hunger Fund site you will find a list of the feeding programs including Kwanzaa Kitchen. Click on the link for more info. Thank you so much for commenting.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on December 20, 2012:

Hi billybuc, yes, I'm very involved as the program coordinator and the pancake maker :-) I didn't want to toot my horn too loudly. That's me at the grill cooking pancakes. There's so much more to share about this ministry but I didn't want to violate the rules with too many pics and links. I will do another one to talk more about the volunteers and my role. Thanks for stopping by and for the H.O.W. inspiration. Glad to have included you in this hub.

Curiad on December 20, 2012:

This is awesome, It is a great project and something that could be done in any city I am sure. Is there a contact number for anyone interested in setting up a similar program to get information?

Great job writing this, Mark

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 20, 2012:

Wonderful Jan, and I'm happy I'm the first to comment. I didn't see in the article, but are you a part of this? I assume that you are since those are your pictures. Anyway, bravo my friend. Thank you for writing a H.O.W. hub and thank you for caring so much for your fellow human beings.

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