Wednesday Oct. 24 marked the one-year anniversary of Feed the Hungry, the MIT student-run Wednesday night community meals program located at St. Bartholomew’s Church in Central Square, Cambridge.
At 5:30 p.m. the Central Square Church doors opened up allowing people to sit down in the chapel room just before the final food preparation takes place. A pray was offered by one of the church junior reverends. Following that, a group of 35 members stood up in line at the kitchen window to be served.
Waiting in line, members dined on traditional American cuisine that includes homemade french fries, kosher franks, tossed salad with fresh tomatoes, pastries, and fresh fruit. The alternatives consisted of Mexican black bean chili and pineapple fruit salad. The meal changes each week to reflect a variety of beef and poultry dishes, hot vegetables, fresh toss salads, pastries, and fresh fruit along with beverages like coffee, tea and juice.
Feed the Hungry was founded by MIT senior Benjamin Francis in 2011 as a community meal to help feed the local homeless. Francis also and created a partnership with St. Bartholomew’s Church which had an objective to expand their community outreach within the Central Square community. Francis led a group of MIT students to create the first student-run ongoing community meals program. He worked with the local Episcopalian church led by priest Reverend Leslie Katherin Sterling and Jr. Church Warden Stephan Mascoll.
This meals program consists of 22 to 30 volunteers weekly. The volunteers come from three major core groups: MIT students, church members and the community. The MIT student group consists of 12 to 14 students weekly and is led by Sharon Small. The church volunteer group represents the largest core group consisting of approximately 15 members each week and is led by JR. Warden Stephan McCall. The community group is the smallest of the three core volunteer groups with 2 to 3 different people helping out weekly.
The Wednesday community meals have been steadily growing over the past five months averaging 35 to 45 members depending on the weather each Wednesday, with an increase in volunteers from MIT and the local church community.
Feed the Hungry prepares fresh locally grown food. They are a community member of Food For Free, the local Cambridge hunger relief organization. Food For Free helps to supply Feed the Hunger with fresh surplus produce and fruit from local farmers markets and the local Cambridge-based Whole Foods and Trader Joes.