Anchorage homeless advocates team up for a restaurant meals program
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Hundreds of boxed meals sat stacked up on a table in front of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church on Tuesday as homeless outreach groups worked on delivering the meals to anyone living unsheltered in Anchorage.
The new effort is called the restaurant meals program and is funded by donations from the Alaska Community Foundation and private donors, along with local restaurants.
“Those meals are distributed for each person that comes to ask for services,” said Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness outreach coordinator Ryan Chernikoff. “No questions asked, they just come and get a meal. As long as their living unsheltered they are eligible for these meal services.”
The new program gives out meals 200 meals, two times a week starting at 11:00 a.m., and hopes to open another food distribution site soon, according to ACEH. Many partnering groups like RurAL CAP help deliver meals from the food distribution site to known homeless camps.
“There was definitely a void of meal services once the Sullivan (Arena) mass shelter was closed,” Chernikoff said. “So we worked with local restaurants and local social service agencies that conduct outreach to try to meet the needs of the unsheltered community.”
The food distribution site is also providing hot showers through the organization Showered in Grace which has a mobile shower unit.
“When you’re living unsheltered everything can be a lot more challenging,” Chernikoff said. “Whether it’s where your next shower is going to come from, especially where your next meal is going to come from.”
This is the fourth week of the restaurant meals program, and the ACEH outreach coordinator said they plan to operate it as long as donations and resources allow.
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