McKenna’s Offers Relief 365 Days a Year

McKenna’s Offers Relief 365 Days a Year

Saturday, December 21st marks National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day.

As we celebrate the holiday season, Martha’s Table continues to stand alongside our neighbors and provide healthy meals, quality education, and family support. This includes communities experiencing food and housing insecurity in the District. 

Saturday, December 21st marks National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day. A day held in remembrance of people who’ve died because they could not access shelter and nutritious, healthy foods. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that out of 19 million experiencing housing insecurity in 2017; the risk of homelessness and poor health is a concern for 1 out of 8 Americans

How does Martha’s Table continue to combat food insecurity today, and every day?

Nearly forty years ago, Martha’s Table was established in response to the lack of food security for young children after school and the homeless population in the District. This is when folks are without access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. 

With the help of volunteers, Martha’s Table became known as an alternative after-school program and a soup kitchen. The program evolved into two nationally accredited education centers and two established Lobby Markets, filled with no-cost fresh produce and pantry items. 

Additionally, we invest in our neighbor’s health with our longest-standing program, McKenna’s Wagon. Our food truck travels 365 days a year, distributing hot meals and sharing in the joy of community–rain, snow or shine.

In 2018, the MT team and volunteers with McKenna’s Wagon distributed over 73,000+ hot meals at our two locations in Ward 2!

I am from Massachusetts, and in my hometown, we know all the visibly homeless by name. So when I came to Washington, DC I was surprised by the apathy of folks. How can they walk past a veteran, with ripped boots and a thin shirt, without a second glance? 

Joining Martha’s Table as a team member reestablished my hope in people. Martha’s Table is an organization committed to equity and respect for all members of the District. 

At Martha’s Table, our mission is to stand alongside our neighbors, but our work must involve everyone. 

How can you support our neighbors experiencing homelessness?

The Assistant Director of the Maycroft and coordinator of McKenna’s Wagon, Gregory Chudy, has been working with Martha’s Table for five years and has a few suggestions on what you can do to support DC residents facing housing and economic challenges. Such as volunteering your time with a non-profit organization like Martha’s Table,  Miriam’s Kitchen, or SOME (So Others Might Eat) that provide vital services. 

He also offers a tip on other ways you can show up for our neighbors, describing how;

 “I keep small hygiene kits in my car, because they provide essential supplies that anyone can use.”

Starting at $17 for 12 kits, you can also offer resources for your neighbors health into the new year. 

Homelessness is a visible symptom of a hidden, systemic problem.

Start today, and you can help the team at Martha’s Table secure the resources required to sustain McKenna’s everyday delivery of healthy food and hot meals.

This winter, do not give up on your neighbors and ignore them. Homelessness can happen to anyone; an accident, a medical emergency, or even the loss of employment, can lead to economic hardship and force us to choose between paying the rent or putting food on the table.

So, what more can you do as a reader?

  1. Take a moment today and listen to someone’s story. 
  2. Carry around healthy snack bars, hygiene kits, or hats and gloves instead of cash.  
  3. Print and drop one page or more of Key’s Resource Guide, in a neighbor’s cup in the District. 
  4. Commit a monthly, recurring financial gift to Martha’s Table to sustain our food access programs.
  5. Become a volunteer with Martha’s Table and support McKenna’s Wagon as a driver, with food prep, and/or food distribution.


So the next time you walk by a person experiencing homelessness, do something.

It’s on us to secure the well being of our neighbors experiencing housing insecurity. It is not an “us” or “them” problem. Together, we can be the change we wish to see in this country. Together we can build a nation worthy of all its citizens. 

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