My Brother’s Table receives no government funding and has been working to help nourish the community since 1982.
The Table’s basic budget is $1.2 million, which includes around $752,000 cash, according to Executive Director Dianne Kuzia Hills. The rest of the budget includes in-kind donations like professional services, Hills said.
My Brother’s Table is assisted by around 3,000 volunteers and serves and delivers roughly 500 meals a day and served about 180,000 meals last year. The organization is open 365 days a year, serving lunch from 11:45 to 12:30 and dinner from 5:30 to 7:15 on weekdays and 2:30 to 4:15 on weekends.
These meals also include off-site programs like Joe’s Meals, delivered to terminally or chronically ill individuals and their families, 70 families from WIC who receive a “meal kit” to cook at home, and Joy Child Care, sending unprepared foods to teen moms.
According to Hills, activity picks up during the summer months, for several reasons.
“Summer is the busiest time here,” she said. “It’s a combination of things including weather and longer light hours that make it easier for some guests to get here.”
Hills also mentioned that as kids spend time at home during summer vacation they eat more without the breakfast or lunches they would get at schools. The kitchen also sees a surge of migrant workers that work in landscaping during this time of year.
“Another unfortunate thing is that towards the beginning of August we also start to lose some volunteer work,” Hill said.
When it comes to the issue of hunger, Hills sees both positives strides and unique needs in the community.
“I think the city made huge steps forward in eligibility for school meals,” she said. “Also, people who are caught it the middle are people out of school who aren’t seniors. Cost of living is so expensive, it’s hard to afford food or the right type of food.”
“Healthy foods tend to be more expensive,” Hills said. “A lot of people don’t have a kitchen or a place to store produce. People forget it makes it harder to eat healthy without that.”