It was business as usual for St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church community kitchen on Tuesday, March 17, despite concerns over the coronavirus.
“I’m always going to make sure we have a hot meal. Sit-down as long as Father Bernie says,” said cook Victoria Valdez.
The only noticeable difference was what wasn’t on the tables and counters — condiments — and all of the food was served by the volunteers like at a cafeteria instead of the usual buffet-style.
“If somebody wants it to go, we can give them a plate to go,” said Valdez.
Lunch is served out of the kitchen each Tuesday to anyone that shows up. Homeless are the majority of the lunchroom’s patrons.
“It doesn’t matter who comes in,” said Valdez.
Between 60 and 70 people show up at the church at 70 Fir St. each Tuesday. Lunch is served at noon but the dining room opens at about 11:30 a.m.
A shower is available upstairs for people to use Monday, Wednesday or Friday mornings and vouchers are available for doing laundry. Hot oatmeal and cereal are served upstairs Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings as well.
“Father Bernie wants to make sure everyone is healthy and safe and their stomach is full,” Valdez said. “It doesn’t matter who you are, where you came from, what your background is, as long as you get fed.”
St. Timothy’s continues to provide its services, but nearly all of the other churches and groups have canceled their community kitchen programs for now.
Brookings Presbyterian Church on Pacific Avenue in Brookings is providing brown bag lunches outside for people to pick up, but “we’re still feeding them,” said a spokesperson.
Seventh-Day Adventist Church is providing a sack lunch from noon to 1 p.m. on the second and fourth Monday of the month.