Community Meals Program
Contact: Emma Green

It's Friday afternoon and the kitchen is buzzing. A group from a local Vacaville congregation is preparing up to 350 meals. The kitchen is in the parish hall of the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany. The cooks are from one of five congregations that make this ecumenical feeding program possible: Unity Church, Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran, St. Mary's Catholic Church, and St. Joseph Catholic as well as a crew from Epiphany. 

Outside there is a lot of activity as well. A Better Way--a function of the Vacaville Police Department's Homeless Roundtable--is greeting and counseling the waiting diners.  A better Way is a program designed to help the homeless navigate the 'system". They find housing, recovery placements, and many more ways to help. One important service  is helping to secure Social Security benefits. A program provides free cell phones and the county social workers are regularly available. A VA volunteer is working the crowd.

Meanwhile indoors in a library of books for any child to borrow or keep, nurses from Touro University offer public health assistance, blood pressure checks, diabetes testing, toiletries, and women's sanitary supplies.

Regularly there is someone to offer help in applying for food stamps.  The Better Way Navigators are chatting with the diners. They have found housing for a number of homeless.

The Morman Stakes have prepared 'anytime snacks'. About 100 are kept in a closet so that anytime someone comes by the church, there is nutritious food to give away.

In winter, there are hats, scarves, and dry socks. The Church of Epiphany is a pickup stop for winter shelter from the rain. On the longest night there is a memorial service for the homeless who  have died.

Tuesday noon, a different group of volunteers come to prepare 70 - 90 lunches. This includes Latter Day Saints volunteers, another Episcopal congregation, St. Brigid of Kildare, Rio Vista, Epiphany volunteers, families and sometimes public servive groups. Solano County sends a mobile dental clinic and a mobile medical clinic twice a month.

Two mornings a month, parishioners work with two diner guests who are underemployed or unemployed doing upkeep around the buildings; painting, cleaning and yardwork. Notes are kept so that the helpers can receive a reference. The volunteer workers recieve a gift card.

Brown Bag, a service to indigent seniors, sponsored by the Solano-Contra Costa Food Bank, comes two Wednesdays a month. Often they leave bags and boxes of produce and some canned goods. These are available for diners to help themselves.

The Church of Epiphany has funded the equipment, upkeep and supplies through fundraising and by grants including Episcopal Community Services and United Thank Offering. Several local business's are partners in providing food. LDS volunmteers help with upkeep.

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