In the Kitchen with Hope House
6/12/2015 9:38 AM
Can you imagine what it would be like to wake up in the morning and get ready for work or school without having breakfast or coffee? What about getting ready without a kitchen or even a table to sit at? This is a daily reality for homeless men, women and children in Milwaukee.
Luckily, when homeless people come to Hope House, that situation changes. We know how important food can be, not just for nutrition and energy, but also for comfort and culture. That’s why we prioritize healthy, fresh food for our residents every single day. Before clients stay in shelter, they are likely getting their meals through a combination of SNAP (food stamps), food pantry donations and soup kitchens. Unlike many shelters that focus just on providing sleeping accommodations, Hope House aims to serve the whole person. To that end, we serve breakfast, lunch, snacks for children in our after school program, and a home cooked dinner to our clients each evening.
Our food comes from three main sources: The first is Hunger Task Force, Milwaukee’s free and local food bank. We order food from Hunger Task Force depending on what they have available and receive a delivery each month. Cereal, peanut butter, noodles and chicken are the main items we get through Hunger Task Force.
A second source of food for Hope House guests is donations from individuals and organizations.Most of these are in the form of nonperishable food items, breads and occasionally prepared food from local restaurants or churches.
The final source of food for Hope House is food we must order from a delivery service every week. We spend an average of $850 every week on food for our clients. This includes produce, dairy, meat and other cooking ingredients. Unfortunately, food ordering is a costly expense and makes up the majority of the food we provide.
So now you know where our food comes from. Let’s talk about what we do with it.
At Hope House, weekday breakfasts are a simple affair, consisting of toast, cereal, fresh fruit, and sometimes donated baked goods. Lunches are provided on an as-needed basis for parents and their young children who might stay at the shelter during the day, or for adults who need a lunch to bring to work with them. Finally, dinners are a hot meal each evening, prepared by guests so that they can learn useful cooking skills and contribute to the community at Hope House. Staff members prepare menus each week with simple recipes that clients take turns working together to prepare for dinner.
All of our meals follow nutrition guidelines set out by the Department of Public Inspection, which means they include one protein, one starch and two fruits and/or vegetables. We also provide specific foods for infants and children based on the needs of their age group.
- Chicken Fajitas with peppers, onions, tomatoes and cheese
- Black beans
- Fresh bananas
Here’s our favorite recipe for those fajitas:
Would you like to help feed our residents? There are many ways to contribute to this important part of our services. First, many of our donors aren’t aware that we can accept donations of frozen and refrigerated foods, as well as fruits and vegetables. We would love any donations of fresh and frozen food you can provide as these are often more nutritious and versatile than canned goods. Click here for a list of current needs and information about donating.
What makes an even greater difference though, is financial donations. Imagine donating just $120 and being able to provide food for our entire shelter for a dinner. When you make a financial donation, you enable us to purchase exactly what we need to meet the nutritional requirements of our clients and prepare meals for a large group of people. To make a donation, click here.