Our project goal is to help address the physical and mental health needs of homeless individuals and families in our community, by supporting Grace's Kitchen, a program of Lifting Up Westchester (LUW), a White-Plains, NY, based non-profit that provides life-changing support to people who are experiencing homelessness.
LUW provides both emergency services, such as meal programs and shelters, and educational and counseling services, to provide a pathway to a more secure future.
Our project will supplement the emergency meal program offered at Grace's Kitchen, housed at Grace Episcopal Church in downtown White Plains. Grace's Kitchen operates year-round, Monday-Friday, serving 80-120 people per day, with breakfast, lunch, and a snack bag. Clients include men, women, and children. Some clients are living on the streets, others in several homeless shelters in the community, and others are housed but living at or below the poverty level where their resources don't cover their nutritional needs.
Meals are planned and prepared by a professional cook whose goal is to provide healthy, nutritional meals that make a huge difference in keeping the clients physically healthy. Many of the clients are experiencing mental health challenges through their life circumstances and isolation. Grace's Kitchen recruits volunteers to serve meals and interact with the clients, which helps make them feel valued and cared for, and better engaged in their community.
Our project will supplement the meal program by providing a special Thanksgiving Day dinner to Grace's Kitchen clients. We will provide funding for a hearty and traditional meal at the Kitchen, plus a take home meal for all attendees, for a total of about 240 meals.
As part of this project, White Plains Rotarians will participate in four volunteer days, including Thanksgiving, for a total of 20-24 volunteer slots during the grant period, Nov. 2023-May 2024.
We will also use a portion of the grant funds to buy supplies for hygiene kits and snack bags, and will hold a volunteer bag-packing day at one of our lunch meetings, in which 25-30 Rotarians will participate. The hygiene kits and snack bags will then be given out by Rotarians during our volunteer days at Grace's Kitchen.
Our grant budget is $4,000. It will include $3,000 to Lifting Up Westchester to underwrite the cost of the Thanksgiving dinner. The remaining $1,000 will be used to purchase hygiene items and snack bag items.