MANCHESTER, NH – In response to a growing need to get prepared meals to the area’s homeless and transient population, Families In Transition – New Horizons (FIT-NH) has partnered with the Stark Brewing Company to prepare and deliver meals each day to various encampments all around the city of Manchester.
This state-funded effort will ensure that there will be daily access to hot meals for participants who cannot easily access food with the soup kitchen shuttered to participants not staying in the shelter due to the pandemic. This partnership will deliver meals twice a day, seven days a week to multiple points around the city, starting April 30.
“Despite the proactive steps we have taken to accommodate social distancing in our shelter, including opening a secondary site to spread out our population, there are limits on our ability to provide food through our soup kitchen because of safety guidelines,” explains Stephanie Savard, Chief Operating Officer for FIT-NH. “Unfortunately, that means these folks are missing an opportunity for a healthy meal every day. We can’t allow that to happen, so we have teamed up with Peter Telge at Stark Brewing to prepare breakfast and dinner meals for distribution every single day to make sure people are safely fed.”
The new partnership follows recommendations by the CDC for the nation’s shelters to develop individual plans to deliver food options to homeless individuals who are isolating themselves from traditional services, such as kitchens, pantries and shelters. Stark Brewery Company will prepare a breakfast for delivery at 9:30 a.m., seven days a week, along with coffee. The breakfast deliveries will be mainly cold foods, with a warm breakfast provided a couple of days each week. Dinner meals will be prepared for 3:30 p.m. delivery and will always be a hot meal. The meals will be delivered to a handful of locations where there are homeless encampments.
“This is a terrific solution to a temporary shift in our population and this partnership with Peter Telge provides an immediate fix to what could have been a significant issue for people accessing basic food needs,” explains Cathy Kuhn, Chief Strategy Officer for FIT-NH. “As a long-time member of our Board of Directors, Peter has been a leader in this community in serving those in need. We are deeply grateful for his partnership in this project and we plan to serve these meals for as long as COVID-19 safe prevention measures keep our participants from coming to New Horizons for healthy meal options.”
New Hampshire regulators at the Department of Health and Human Services will oversee the food preparation and delivery program, which was recently approved by the Charitable Trust Division at the NH Department of Justice. Stark Brewing Company will work mainly from its existing limited menu of food options that are currently available, but will also provide basic food staples to ensure these are nutritious meals for all who need them.
Employees at Stark Brewing Company will prepare meals twice a day, seven days a week, and will join field teams from Families In Transition – New Horizons to deliver those meals safely to all who reside in the encampments around the city of Manchester. Delivery locations will be adjusted based on the shifting needs of the transient population in Manchester, but FIT-NH advocates intend to spread the word with in-person outreach to ensure people in these camps know this service is available to them during the pandemic.
“It’s an honor to serve this community and I am so proud of the efforts of all those who are working to help those who are struggling to meet basic needs during this challenging time,” explains Peter Telge, owner of Stark Brewing Company. “This partnership is a win-win because it will also keep our staff employed and keep my restaurant doors open and functioning during a very difficult time.”
The FIT-NH food delivery program will continue until the pandemic threat subsides, the state of emergency is ended and social distancing challenges are relaxed to allow groups to gather in large numbers and when the Soup Kitchen can re-open for the outside community again. There is no specific end date to this outreach effort at this time.