Feeding hungry people well is what I love to do. Many of you know that at Monica’s every day that we have left-overs we call the Central Kitsap Food Bank to come and get them. From soup, bread, frittata, etc… to pastries, cookies, bars and desserts we send it all their way just about every other day. (Hungry people don’t mind if it is day-old, they tend to be able to overlook that part.) During the quartely Art Walk in Old Town we always shut down the cash register and hand out cookies for donations. Cash, toiletries, canned goods and other needed items are all welcome donations. And yes, we are a bit picky: donations need to be worth at least as much as $1.50 for a cookie.

We have hungry neighbors every day of the year and this week’s colder rain is a stark reminder that winter is coming. Winter hunger comes with a different set of problems than summer hunger does and it is never to early to start giving. We also collect clean, warm clothing, backpacks, clean blankets, pet supplies and camping equipment like sleeping bags and cook-stove fuel for our homeless population and others who have fallen on hard times. These days gift cards to gas stations can mean the difference between someone getting to a job, or being out of work with no food for the family. Pre-paid phone cards are a great idea, too.

When the food bank is unavailable due to closures or holidays we take the extra food out to the local free meals. Pastor Art Speight at the Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Bremerton has created “Taking It To The Streets! Ministries” and if we can’t get the food to them, his wonderful assistant MaryAnn will come and get it from us. It is such a blessing when we are busy, or I cannot drive due to a broken ankle , that these organizations will come pick up the food. Until I met up with Pastor Art I did not have a reliable place to take the food during holidays, weekends and the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Now we have a great, reliable resource and the diners love our food.

Sidebar: One day we got a call from a woman from out of state who had ordered 2 dozen cupcakes for her son. Her son’s ship had sailed a day early and she had no one here who could pick them up. It was frustrating for her and sad that her son did not get these lovely and delicious tokens of her love! I took them to the dinner behind K-Mart (it has moved) and the diners were thrilled!! It was such a joy to be able to hand them out (they were beautifully decorated and very tasty, of course) and see the delight in everyone’s faces as they took a cupcake. It just so happens that they were running out of dessert as I arrived so the timing was perfect, too.

There are a few free meals in the area (at least one a day) and they can all use donations of food, money, equipment and your time. Below is a list of these meals and if you know someone who is hungry, or who has excess resources, please give them a copy of this list. These meals are for anyone who needs them, no one is turned away. Not a one of us is too far removed from hunger to think that this does not effect our lives. Nobody knows when or where hunger can strike, nor do we usually realize just how close to home it is. If my neighbor is hungry I am compelled to share my table. I hope that you are, too.

FREE MEALS (Thank you Sally Santana for compiling this current list!)

God’s Kitchen: Family of God Lutheran Church 7625 Central Valley Rd., Bremerton
(360) 692-7729 Every Monday Noon to 2:00 p.m.

South Kitsap Family Kitchen: 1st Lutheran Community Church 2483 Mitchell Rd., Port Orchard(360) 876-3901 Last 2 Mon, Tues, Th, Fri, 5-6:30 p.m.

Cornerstone Christian: Sylvan Way Baptist Church 900 Sylvan Way, Bremerton
(360) 698-3219Sun, 1:30 Tue & Th, 6:30 p.m.

Healthy Meals: Silverdale Lutheran Church 11701 Ridgepoint Dr. W, Silverdale
(360) 692-9263 Wed, 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

Our Savior’s Lutheran Church 1015 Veneta Ave., Bremerton
(360) 479-63741st 3 Wed of month, 5:00 p.m.

Salvation Army: 832 Sixth St., Bremerton
(360) 479-2695Mon – Fri, Noon to 12:45 p.m.

TLC Dinner: New Life Assembly 1003 5th Ave, Bremerton
(360) 377-7292 Every Fri, 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Bread for Bremerton: Brem. United Methodist Church 1150 Marine Dr.
(360) 373-3510 Last Fri. of month 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Lord’s Neighborhood Diner: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church 700 Callahan Dr., Bremerton
(360) 377-2915 Sat. & Sun. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Joy of Freedom: Westgate Fire Hall 1550 Rocky Pt. Rd., Bremerton
(360) 373-8814 Sundays 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

The Coffee Oasis/Teen Night: 822 Burwell, Bremerton
(360) 373-0461