When the COVID-19 virus brought the District’s first stay-at-home orders almost a year ago, SOME quickly implemented changes to ensure that our neighbors experiencing hunger still received breakfast and lunch every day, even if we could not welcome them into our Dining Room.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the dedication of our staff. It is still dark when SOME Kitchen Manager Lynette Moore and her small-but-mighty team arrive at 5 a.m. to get started on breakfast, a hot meal now served to-go style outside of SOME’s Dining Room.
A typical menu includes scrambled eggs, sausages, fruit, grits and/or a muffin, as well as coffee and water or juice. Instead of our usual army of volunteers, breakfast is thoughtfully packaged by members of our Public Safety and Volunteer Management teams, who have been called to these additional duties during the pandemic. Staff also retrieve bagged lunches—packed the previous afternoon by a small group of volunteers—which our guests will collect along with their hot breakfast boxes.
While breakfast is being prepared inside, people who rely on SOME for their daily meals are lining up outside by 6:30 a.m., greeted by masked staff members—led by Public Safety Team Supervisor Terrance Puller—who help to keep folks physically distanced. We’re able to provide masks for those residents who do not have any, as well as remind them of other services we offer—clothing, showers, visits to a doctor, and the rest of SOME’s continuum of care—as they wait to collect their meals.
SOME was founded when Father Horace McKenna began handing out sandwiches in his neighborhood. In the 50 years since, SOME staff and volunteers have distributed meals from a church basement, the tailgate of a van, and SOME’s Dining Room at 71 O Street NW.
Thanks to the ongoing support of our community, including our Provide a Meal groups, we served 285,422 meals in 2020 with our customary hospitality. We look forward to reopening the Dining Room to our guests and our volunteers as soon as it is safe. Until then, we are committed to meeting any challenge 2021 holds to ensure that anyone who needs a meal in the District finds one at SOME.