Feeding people so that they have the strength to take the first or the next step out of poverty is at the heart of our mission. Food nourishes the body but it also brings people together. That togetherness happens in our Family Soup Kitchen and it happens in neighborhood dining rooms and kitchens stocked by our Holiday Food Baskets program. Our food-based programs include:
Baldwin Family Soup Kitchen
We serve a hot mid-day meal Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday between 10:30 pm and 1 pm all year round. Recently Baldwin added evening meals to its menu. Dinner is now served every Tuesday and Thursday from 5:30-6:30 pm. Each year we serve more than 65,000 meals.
We serve a nutritious breakfast every Monday through Friday from 7 to 7:30 am to the homeless men and women in the area and to those housed overnight by our partner agency HOPE Hospitality & Warming Center during their season.
Holiday Food Baskets
Every year at Thanksgiving and Christmas we collect food donations to fill holiday food baskets. Not only do our baskets provide a turkey and all the fixings for a complete holiday meal, it also contains up to four weeks’ worth of food. Each year more than 600 Pontiac families receive our holiday baskets. We partner with the North Oakland Holiday Clearinghouse to ensure that we are serving the families who are most in need of assistance.
Six days a week volunteers make the rounds of grocery stores, farmers markets and restaurants to collect day old bread, baked goods, and other fresh and prepared food items that would otherwise be discarded. We also welcome donations of garden produce during the harvest season. If the food cannot be used in the kitchen, we make this bounty available to our neighbors on a first come, first served basis.
Monday through Friday children in our after school program are served a warm meal and a snack before leaving. Many students receive breakfast and lunch through their school; Baldwin provides the last meal of the day.
Focus: HOPE Food Distribution
Working with Detroit-based Focus: HOPE, we coordinate a food delivery of non-perishable items to nearly 200 Pontiac senior citizens each month.
Each summer and now, thanks to our hoop houses, through the winter as well, neighborhood youth plant and harvest vegetables from a community garden on our grounds. The first garden was planted with help from Pontiac Urban Garden Explosion, Americorps VISTA volunteers and Michigan State University Extension 4-H. The older youth in the program take some of the produce to area farmer’s market.
Children who rely on free and reduced lunches during the school year often go hungry at lunchtime during the summer. The Baldwin Center provides free lunches during the summer to neighborhood children. The children participating in the summer enrichment camp also receive breakfast and snack in addition to lunch.
Baby Food & Formula
Thanks to the generous donations of our friends, the Baldwin Center is able to provide baby food and infant formula to local families. Donations of baby food or formula can be dropped off at the Soup Kitchen entrance Monday through Friday between 8:30 am and 5 pm.
Photos courtesy of ImagesbyRonCard