Jubilee: Feeding the whole person 2015

Jubilee Kitchen started 34 years ago to feed the poor.  Three hundred sixty-five days a year ever since, our doors have been open to serve whoever comes to us.  That you would have invested with us this year is especially significant.

FOOD   Food is the backbone of our ministry.  The Kitchen draws approximately 125 guests a day, more at the end of the month when SSI and other funds have been exhausted.  Some guests are regulars who live close by.  To come to a soup kitchen, a person must be desperate, joining the ranks of the marginalized.  They are mostly unattached men with a few women and even occasional children coming.  Many are addicted and many more who are recovering from a life of addiction. Some are ex-offenders, some are disabled physically or from mental issues.  Many guests come as early as 8:30 for coffee and rolls.  Most stay until our main meal at 11 AM and take-outs are available for those who need them.  As long as they abide by a few rules of civility and non-violence, all are welcome.  Staff, volunteers and regular guests are the backbone of our welcoming community.  We try to respond to the needs of the whole person.

OTHER SERVICES   Over the years, Jubilee discovered new needs from our guests.  We help with clothes, transportation to jobs, wellness appointments, as well as aiding out-of-towners through Travelers’ Aid, needs for toiletries and hygienic goods, and a health clinic.  We do not pressure guests to change their ways, but when we discover a readiness to move from destitution to the arduous path toward self-sufficiency, we give moral support and any other help that we can.

JUBILEE PANTRY   Soon after opening in 1979, we started the Pantry to provide food security to residents of the Hill District and Polish Hill (15219 zip code).  The pantry is housed on Polish Hill, across from Immaculate Heart Church.  We provide twice a month a variety of groceries to supplement the family diet in a balanced way.  Bags include meat or fish and fresh vegetables.  About 135 households belong to our “food club.”  Walk-ins come twice a month.  On alternate weeks, we also deliver groceries to over area 70 shut-ins.  Rather than just providing emergency help, we want our families to know that our help can be relied twice a month.

COLLABORATION   Working closely with Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, we leverage contributions from funders to purchase far more food than what the amount would buy in a regular grocery.  Jubilee Association found it necessary to provide our guests with help in completing an application for food stamps provided by the Department of Welfare.

PHILOSOPHY   Jubilee Association was founded by a core of people dedicated to Judeo-Christian values and Catholic Worker ideals of honoring the human dignity of each guest, non-judgmentally. From our beginning, we have been committed to encouraging these values among our staff and many volunteers.  Having our guests treated with respect and friendship nourishes the soul, just as our food satisfies their physical hunger. Food is a basic right that we want to provide.  At the Kitchen and through our Pantry we insure security around this basic need.  This in turn adds to the health of our guests and food bank families.  For persons living in poverty and afflicted with all of its scars, having food security and a trusting community allows them to cope much better with the other challenges of their lives.