Because of Teen Feed, I now challenge myself to talk to people I would have ignored, people that I would have judged without knowing anything about them. I’m learning that they are more like me than I thought, and they would fit into my community as easily as any other person.
It takes time, determination, and the willingness to go way out of my comfort zone. I challenge you to expand your “community” to include someone you would never have thought fit — maybe someone homeless. A beloved community is well worth the effort.
Quote from Sam Levy, one of our UUC youth who has volunteered with the Meal Team for over 2 years
About Teen Feed
Teen Feed is a local non-profit that works with the community to offer support to homeless youth in meeting basic needs, as they work toward getting off the streets. With the support of the community, Teen Feed responds to the most basic needs of homeless and at-risk youth—offering healthy meals, teen advocacy, street outreach, and healthcare access, all while engaging the community through service.
UUC has partnered with Teen Feed’s Meal Program for over a dozen years. The Meal Program serves a hot, nutritious meal at various University District meal sites seven nights per week. Over a healthy meal, young people connect with specially trained advocates to access the resources and services they need.
King County estimates over 1,000 homeless youth and young adults on any given night. Year-round, nearly 30 UUC congregants volunteer with Teen Feed—preparing and serving meals 18 times per year.
In recent years, UUC has expanded its involvement from hosting 6 meals per year to having two meal teams at Teen Feed and hosting 18 meals each year—on the first Sunday every month and on the first Friday six times during the year.
In December, for the last five years, UUC sponsored the Warm Clothes Holiday Giving Program to benefit Teen Feed. This holiday giving program deepened UUC’s long-time partnership with Teen Feed.
In 2021 when UUC sponsored the Warm Clothes Holiday Giving Program, even more was collected than in prior years—UUC families donated $2000 in cash, along with 50 pairs of wool socks, 60 hats, 25 pairs of gloves, over 50 coats, and so much more! UUC’s holiday giving has provided a critical safety net for homeless teens. Winters, and the holidays in particular, are even more challenging than the rest of the year for teens living on the streets.
Since March 2020, UUC’s Meal Team has continued to provide meals, adapting their work to fit changes during the pandemic. Rather than having 8–10 from UUC’s team on-site, a small team of 3–5 makes the entree on-site, while 4–6 other families prepare items at home and deliver those to a church where 60 to-go boxes are assembled. Through 2021, Teen Feed staff served up the to-go boxes to teens while checking in with them about resources, needs and health concerns. Then, in early 2022, the UUC Meal Team began serving the teens on-site again. In addition, the team continues to make to-go boxes for both a local youth shelter and a community refrigerator for others who are unhoused in the University-District neighborhood.
The Teen Feed staff are truly essential workers, as they continue street outreach. Teen Feed’s focus is connecting with teens to assess health, housing and employment needs….and, hand out to-go boxes to those who don’t stop by the evening meal service. Through a shared meal each evening, and their street outreach, staff and volunteers offer the teens resources, support and advocacy.
Members of our meal teams cook and serve at the U-District Teen Feed, providing dinner to about 40 homeless teens while Teen Feed advocates connect the teens with community resources.
Volunteers plan meals, shop, cook, and serve food. Teens are welcome if accompanied by an adult, and this makes for a great intergenerational volunteer opportunity! Drop us a line via the form below if you’re interested in joining us or have questions.