The Meals Program with its hearty breakfasts and lunches is the hub of our services. For many guests, the Women's Lunch Place is their primary source of food and good nutrition. Many days, a woman will tell the staff she has not eaten since she had lunch the previous day at the Women's Lunch Place. Wholesome food is a luxury that most of our women cannot afford.
Our homeless guests have no access to a kitchen or any type of food storage. Their only other options may be fast or prepared foods that is high in fat, sugar, and salt. Prepared foods are generally unhealthy, cumulatively expensive, and can contribute significantly to poor nutrition. In combination with stress and fatigue, insufficient nutrition increases a woman's susceptibility to illness and leads to poor health.
The Very Substantial Breakfast
The Meals Program strives to improve the health, nutrition, and quality of life for our guests. The very substantial breakfast at the Women's Lunch Place consists of a buffet with fruit, yogurt, oatmeal, cereal, bread, coffee, tea, juice, milk, and a variety of hot dishes left over from the prior day's lunch.
We keep the breakfast buffet stocked throughout the morning so a woman may find something to eat, regardless of when she arrives at the shelter. We keep bread, butter, peanut butter, jelly, milk, coffee, juice, and tea available throughout the day. Some women stop by in the morning to find something to eat on their way to work. Those who stay in overnight shelters are often out on the streets early in the morning and come inside the Women's Lunch Place to spend the day by 7 a.m.
Lunch with a Tablecloth and Flowers
Lunch consists of high-quality, freshly prepared dishes, including meat or fish, fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, and dessert. We always offer a vegetarian alternative to our main dish. Menus are planned to emphasize nutritional content and diversity. Our plates are full, and we try to prepare enough food for women to have second servings and food to take out when they leave. We offer lunch restaurant-style, with volunteers serving guests seated in the dining room.
Each table is covered with a tablecloth, there are fresh flowers on each table, and we use china plates and real flatware. When necessary, we provide groceries for women who have no way to buy them, and during holidays we provide baskets of food for women with homes so they may prepare festive meals.