Dinner Time! (for some) - ResourcesUnite!


We’re going to Coe’s tonight for dinner. They’re in Bernard. People will go out of the way to get their bar food. I’ll be encouraging people to try the steak. The steaks are incredible and are one of the very few guarantees that I make in life. I guarantee it is the best steak you’ve ever had. I’ll eat, but I’m really not that hungry. I’ll probably have onion rings too.

Mindy from Hillcrest stopped in the office the other day. She was helping someone transition out of the Rescue Mission and into an apartment. Mindy was hoping we could help find a bed, some kitchen supplies and maybe some food for the person in need. Her client starts at Mcdonalds in a few days and is hoping to have some extra money at that time.

We know better though. “Extra money” isn’t going to happen.

I’ve moved a lot in my life and it’s always a pain. All the bags, the boxes and I never really label anything the way I promise myself that I will. It feels like an eternity before everything is in the right place. I think I still have stuff in our storage room in boxes from the last move. 12 years ago.

I imagined for a moment living in a homeless shelter and moving into an apartment of my own. I’m sure it’s a great feeling getting your place, but I would guess it’s also really depressing too. Imagine moving into an apartment with everything you are wearing, a black garbage bag half full of clothes and a bicycle. That’s it. That’s your everything.

This is what the starting line looks for many.

Mindy and I sat in my office brainstorming how to get her client the necessities. “We can get a bed and I know someone that has some kitchen supplies. Let’s work on the food,” I said.

The Dubuque Food Pantry wasn’t open, very few people know the right person to contact for the food pantries that exist in the local churches, and we didn’t have the vouchers needed for many of the other programs. I thought about giving the Epworth Food Pantry a call. How are we here again? How is it that the programs (including us) trying to connect people to resources aren’t able to come up with food for the weekend for someone in need?

Can you imagine trying to navigate this process on your own? Impossible. You’re going hungry.

There must be a better way. Food should not be a barrier. Ever. For anyone. No one should have to wait for food. Not in our communities. Not in Dubuque. If a family needs food at 2am on a Saturday morning, they should be fed. No paperwork, no waiting for office hours. And as service providers, we must improve the way in which we share information. The resources are often there, but are too often unknown by many.