Hope Dining Room | Vice Chair | Website Coming soon!
Tell us how it all started. Why? What’s the story?
Hope Dining Room is Newark’s only ‘soup kitchen.’ We have been serving hot, noontime meals to Newark area residents in need since 1983. Hope Dining Room is housed in Kingswood United Methodist Church on Marrows Road.
Anyone who is hungry is welcome to join us for lunch; there is no income test or need for referral. We serve anywhere from 60 to 100 guests each day, approximately 1/3 of whom are homeless.
Local churches and service groups volunteer for a specific day each month; they plan their menus, purchase the groceries, and cook and serve the meals.
The Hope Dining Room board coordinates the serving groups, pays the rent and the wages of two part time employees.
What is your biggest success so far?
Hope Dining Room started off serving three days a week. We expanded to four days a week a few years later, and now we are working on providing meals five days a week every week. The need is great.
What is the biggest challenge in your industry? What are you doing to deal with that?
Our biggest challenges right now are attracting a few new serving groups so we can serve five days a week every week, and attracting donors to help us with the board’s budget to pay rent and wages, etc. We are hoping our new website (under development) will help us with these goals.
What advice would you give to a business owner starting out in your industry that you wish you would have known going in?
We have always treated our volunteers well, I think, and I think that is crucial.
What don’t most people realize about you or your company?
That we exist! Is amazing how many people have never heard of Hope Dining Room.
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