Driven by Food, Steered by Compassion
In July 2007, the co-founders of Urban Hands, Jim Lustig and Don Platt, began providing one meal a week to residents of Tent City III, one of Seattle’s homeless camps. Urban Hands officially began in 2009 out of the founders’ passion to continue feeding and caring for the homeless community, as well as other food-insecure residents in the Seattle area. Utilizing many of the resources provided by The Upper Crust Catering, such as kitchen, refrigeration, & office space, we have established a culture in which anyone in need of a hot meal and inviting atmosphere can be fed and be known.
Through this spirit of partnership, Urban Hands is able to extend meals to local organizations that already have relationships with people in need. Tent City , Community Dinners, and Street Youth Ministries are a few of our long-term meal partners who serve homeless individuals all across the city.
In 2012, Meals Partnership Coalition, an organization dedicated to supporting the work of nonprofit meal providers in Seattle, analyzed the state of Seattle’s emergency food system. Their findings revealed that Seattle is short 2.5 million prepared meals each year, based on the number of documented sheltered and unsheltered individuals and the available meals through food banks and meal systems. In addition, there is an estimated need of 1 million meals for those who have exhausted their food bank and federal benefits.
To meet these needs, the coalition suggested several options, two of which were to expand current programs to meet these needs, and to ask additional community organizations currently not providing meals to begin doing so. Urban Hands’ goal is to increase our number of weekly meals and partner with organizations that are not yet providing meals, as recommended by Meals Partnership Coalition.
In 2007, Urban Hands served an estimated 3,600 meals. Since then, our number of meals served has grown each and every year. In 2014, we provided over 40,000 meals throughout the city.
Our meals consist of a salad, a protein, a starch, a vegetable, and a dessert. When possible, they are served hot out of the oven.
As of January 1st, 2015, Urban Hands provides 10 weekly meals throughout the greater Seattle area, as well as drop-in meals at our facility in the Greenwood neighborhood. Our goal for this calendar year is to serve over 45,000 meals, and we would love your help!