St. Columba's Episcopal Church

Loaves and Fishes

Preparing food at Loaves and Fishes.
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Loaves and Fishes is a ministry of St. Stephen’s and the Incarnation, which for more than 40 years has served lunch to the hungry and homeless on Saturdays, Sundays and federal holidays. This program is supported by a number of churches and volunteer organizations; St. Columba’s has been providing a meal on the third Saturday of each month for 30 years.

The program began when eight churches joined together to provide meals for indigent District residents on weekends when the District food programs were closed. While the mission has remained the same, each year the number of homeless, the cost of food and the number of volunteers has increased.

St. Columba’s provides summer and winter menus – meat loaf, mashed potatoes and vegetables in the winter and a tuna, pasta and vegetable casserole in the summer. All meals include brownies, bread and butter sandwiches, apples, milk, orange juice and coffee. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are packaged for guests to take home. All of this is prepared on site.

Volunteers from St. Columba’s purchase most of the food and deliver it to St. Stephen’s on Saturday morning. St. Columba’s also reimburses St. Stephens for additional food and supplies that St. Stephens purchases wholesale.

Each month 10 to 12 volunteers arrive at St. Stephen’s and the Incarnation in the District for the first shift (9:30 to 11:30 am) to prepare and serve the noontime meal. Another shift of volunteers comes from 11 am 1:30 pm to help serve the meal and clean up. Some of the volunteers stay for the full four hours. This is an intergenerational program; many families enjoy participating as a group. Some St. Columba’s families with very young children make cookies at home and come at noon to pass them out.

Volunteers are recruited each month by a listserv of St. Columbans that represents families as well as individuals who have expressed interest in the program. In 2009, 65 St. Columbans of all ages participated, roughly two-thirds two or more times.

Click the following links for more information:

Loaves and Fishes
St. Stephen and the Incarnation

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Photo: Jane North


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