By Gerald Creighton
No matter how much outreach a community may have in place there is always a need for more – more programs, more awareness, and more participation. It can be both easy to forget and hard to understand that hunger and need exist right outside our doorstep. One might feel powerless to make a difference, or that one person cannot solve this problem. However, one person can influence change. And, when more people do one individual thing, we can make a collective difference, even if that is just serving a hot meal with a few kind words and a smile.
On June 9, Lighthouse’s NYC office held its first community engagement event of the year. Four members of our team visited St. Luke’s Soup Kitchen in Midtown Manhattan to serve hot lunches to some of our community members in need.
After meeting with the facility’s team, receiving a briefing, and donning the ever-fashionable and iconic aprons, hair nets, and plastic gloves, the team worked on the serving line for the lunch hour, greeting community members, interacting with them, and serving healthy lunches that filled a critical gap in their daily nutritional needs.
St. Luke’s Soup Kitchen serves approximately 100-150 meals a day, twice a week, in concert with similar programs around the city. This program relies upon volunteer help to work on the food service line for two reasons. First, having volunteers participate in this way helps keep costs down for a program that is reliant upon food, financial, and other contributions from both public and private sources. Second, and perhaps more importantly, it provides an opportunity for the public to confront the dramatic need for basic sustenance and support that exists in our community. Having spent time experiencing this first-hand, the NYC team is unified in their feeling that this was a worthy, necessary, and gratifying experience. Following the event, we all resolved to revisit this program, both as a team and individually. While we have all participated in outreach before and were unsurprised by the need, we were each profoundly taken with the dignity, effectiveness, and care demonstrated by this operation, and felt it was a mission we each want to celebrate and champion.
Lighthouse’s Partners Give Back program, and the generous allotment of 8 hours a year per employee to be used for charitable work, shines a light on our company’s corporate citizenship, as well as on the kinds of individuals Lighthouse is built around. For the NYC team, this opportunity further validated our decisions to pursue our careers with Lighthouse and helped us keep in mind how tremendously fortunate we are for the health and prosperity we enjoy, while being mindful of our duty to our neighbors who are in need.
For more information about how Lighthouse partners with nonprofits in our various communities, please click here.