Human Services Department Director Dannette R. Smith writes about the Feb. 3rd community meeting with Seattle outdoor meal providers and volunteers.
OPERATION: Sack Lunch director Beverly Graham, my staff and I met with about 45outdoor meal providers and volunteers Friday night, February 3rd at the Compass Housing Alliance to discuss the Outdoor Meal Program. OPERATION: Sack Lunch operates the program, located under I-5 at Columbia Street, with the support of $133,000 in City funding. I greatly appreciated a chance to meet and talk directly to the people who have worked so hard to serve hot meals to mostly homeless people 365 days a year. I have enormous respect for these efforts to feed people who are hungry and without resources.
We had some good, frank discussion about some of the issues surrounding the meals program and Beverly Graham and I described plans to jointly form a task force to develop a relocation plan over the next six months. The goals are to relocate the program indoors where we can better connect meal participants with services they may need, and to support meal service in Southeast Seattle and Lake City. We will make sure any relocation accommodates people who choose to eat outside. The task force will include service providers as well as representatives from Pioneer Square and Belltown businesses and the Downtown Seattle Association. The first meeting will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012 and subsequent meetings will be held on the third Thursday of the month through July. I look forward to this collaboration with outdoor meal providers, other partners and community members.