Scientist Margaret Mead is quoted as saying:
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
And when you learn the story of Our Place Waldorf, you will know that this statement is true.
Based at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church in Waldorf, Our Place Waldorf is a twice-weekly soup kitchen that has big dreams to be so much more for those in need in Charles County. A hot meal is served on Mondays and Thursdays at 5 p.m. at the church. Additional services are offered when available, including donated clothing or personal hygiene kits.
Our Place Waldorf began in October 2012 when community members Veronica Haileyesus Bullock and Deanna Gerhart sought to revive the church’s Thursday Night Dinner Program, which provided meals for those in need for many years. The program had been suspended earlier that year due to the economy and declining resources.
Out of this effort, a new program was born, and there’s a reason the phrase “More than a soup kitchen” appears in several places on the organization’s website. The ultimate goal of those behind Our Place Waldorf is to provide daily meals and to meet other basic needs like clothing, personal hygiene items, laundry facilities, exercise classes, recreation and entertainment, and more.
The Monday and Thursday meals are offered at no charge to those in Charles County in need of a hot meal. As the organization’s website notes, 7 percent of Charles County residents lived below the poverty line in 2009-2013, according to the U.S. Census.
Our Place Waldorf seeks to put faces to that number. “Simply put, hunger and homelessness can look like your neighbor,” the website states. “And that’s why we at Our Place Waldorf welcome and serve ALL who are in need of a hot meal within the Charles County community. We believe in harnessing the power of community to come together to feed the less fortunate among us.”
Currently, about 70 people are served dinner each week, a number that is growing, according to Our Place Waldorf. Spend time at the group’s Facebook page, and you’ll see that interesting, healthy meals are being served. The group posts its menu and number of people served after each meal.
There are many ways for the community to get involved. The organization needs volunteers to prep, serve, and clean up after meals. You’ll find guidelines and volunteer forms on the Our Place Waldorf website.
Community members are also invited to donate to the organization’s Fundly campaign to support the weekly dinners and other services offered. The organization also hosts fundraising events around Charles County.
We’d love to feature organizations doing good work throughout Southern Maryland! Contact me today to let me know if there’s a group you’d like me to spotlight.
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