Teen Feed—Adapting to Support the Homeless
Many non-profits and volunteers continue to serve those who are homeless—offering food, shelter and support—even as Washington’s Stay Home-Stay Healthy Order continues through at least early May, and as COVID-19 cases continue to rise statewide. Food, shelter, sanitation and clean water are basic needs. Although many of us may have had these top of mind recently, they are daily challenges for the 5,000 who are homeless in King County. Over the last two months, access to public restrooms, shelter beds and meals have become more scarce…and, living on the street has become ever-more challenging.
Teen Feed, like many organizations offering support and case management, remains committed to offering safe, warm meals and services to young people who are homeless. And, Teen Feed staff are confident that they can weather this smartly, minimizing impact to the teens. As a long-time partner, UUC’s Meal Team has continued in that endeavor. In early March, our meal team prepared and served two meals—procedures and menus were adapted according to new public health guidelines at the time. Last Sunday, UUC followed revised guidelines—a small team of four prepared burritos and assembled 80 to-go boxes, while two families baked cookies at home and created packets of chocolate cookies that were added at assembly. Teen Feed staff served the boxed meals at a doorway, with teens approaching individually to pick-up a meal and some sanitary products. As usual, staff use these meals as an opportunity to connect with teens individually. Now, an added focus is helping teens keep apprised of health advisories related to Coronavirus, and pass along safety tips, to reduce risk.
UUC continues to bring compassion and open hearts to Teen Feed. In fact, with a hole in this week’s schedule, several from our Meal Team raised their hands to prepare 80 to-go boxes this Sunday. Easter dinner boxes will include baked chicken, fruit, carrots, brownies, milk and juice.
Although meals in the next few months may continue to be boxed up and served by staff, the UUC team is hopeful to soon return with warm smiles and opportunities for human connection.
King County has continued to work with local shelters and aid providers, like Teen Feed, as they try minimize the spread of the Coronavirus in a community already at risk—those living in shelters and on the streets, and often suffering from many more chronic health conditions. Here are links to two articles that offer some perspective, one from the Seattle PI and another from WIRED.
If you want to contribute to Teen Feed, you can help replenish some of the most needed supplies, like juice boxes, high-protein snack bars, cup soups, and other nutritious snacks. At this time, it might be easiest to simply donate online. Staff have been clearing the shelves for several items at Cash-and-Carry. But, if you are out shopping and buy a supply of these much needed items for Teen Feed, contact Pam to help you coordinate your drop-off at one of the churches hosting nightly meals.