Dear Haywood St. Community,

I want to share with you a change we’ll be making in the way we source food for the Downtown Welcome Table and Haywood Street Respite.

We are very fortunate to have many partners that share food with us. From growers to retailers, there are partners at just about every point along the food distribution chain that connect with Haywood Street in some way. These partners have helped us develop a ministry of abundance where folks can trust that there is always enough; and contemplate what it means for God’s grace to be available on those same terms.   

No doubt, hundreds of companions and volunteers have been part of the process of picking up, unloading, sorting, weighing, cleaning and preserving food donated for use in Downtown Welcome Table and Respite meals. Some of the food we receive is well-suited for use at our tables, and some of it is not. Food that needs to be consumed within a couple of days, for example, or small quantities of vegetables or fruits that can’t be scaled up for a full Downtown Welcome Table meal. Our practice has been to redistribute these items to partner agencies that are able to share them with children and families in places like public housing neighborhoods, schools and community centers.

We’ve felt great about sharing donated food with folks in need, with the help of partner agencies. And, we’ve had a growing awareness that the amount of food we are re-distributing far outweighs the amount of food we are able to use in Haywood Street ministries and programs. With table fellowship representing the primary means through which we pursue our mission and vision, we have made the decision to remove ourselves from the role of middle-man. We have been working with Feeding America, Trader Joe’s and other partners toward the goal of re-routing the path of food so that it bypasses our pantry and still gets to folks that are hungry.

We recognize that this will leave many Haywood St. companions and volunteers without a job. Rest assured, there is plenty to do! Besides direct service in one of the core programs, there is always a need for more help with campus cleanup and minor maintenance work including painting — particularly on days other than Wednesdays and Sundays. Help is needed moving clothes from off-site donation bins to our campus. Drivers are needed to help Friends in Respite get to/from doctor’s appointments. The possibilities are endless. Hannah will be reaching out to all our Trader Joe’s and other retail program volunteers in the coming weeks. In the meantime, THANK YOU for the very important role you have played in helping this ministry become what it is today.

Ever grateful,

Laura Kirby, Executive Director