Services We Provide
The Café of Life provides a hot nutritious meal Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. The meals are cooked by volunteers at their homes and include a casserole, vegetable, salad, milk and juice and often hard boiled eggs, fruit, and cookies from the pastry table. Each meal begins with a prayer given in English and Spanish by our site manager.
We also provide supplemental groceries to prepare meals at home, gently used clothing, diapers, toiletries, blankets, other miscellaneous personal goods, and at times furniture and appliances.
Grocery stores and Farmer Mikes donate the take home food and local restaurants provide meals in the summer when volunteers are few.
The heart and soul of the Café are its volunteers. In 2017, more than 500 dedicated volunteers contributed 12,900 hours. They cook and serve meals, pick up groceries at grocery stores, tend the clothing area and pantry tables. Additional things that volunteers do are:
- Provide a monthly story reading with new books to take home.
- Provide a weekly bi-lingual Bible Story and prayer time for adults and children
- Weekly story telling
- Provide craft projects and games for the children.
- One volunteer provides haircuts weekly.
- Another took and donated family portraits at Christmas time.
- Church, school and civic groups provide holiday meals to cook at home, stockings and toys. They provide ice cream”socials” and serve meals.
- A Realtor group even painted the Women’s Club building for us.
With the hiring of an Outreach Coordinator in February 2016 the Café of Life expanded its services to include “outreach” to those in need who are unable to partake of services provided primarily at Leitner Neighborhood Park. The Outreach Coordinator promotes the Café of Life’s current services, determines the additional needs of current and potential clients, provides delivery of food and clothing directly to the homes of clients, provides transportation, counseling, assistance with language barriers and coordinates direct financial assistance to clients.
In late January 2017 the Café expanded its operations to include a Transportation Program and hired a part-time Coordinator. Although we have been transporting clients to our feeding site for services for more than two years our 15 passenger van was going unused in the afternoons and weekends. Since many of our clients have no reliable transportation and the public transportation is lacking we identified a need to transport clients to the doctor’s office, pharmacy, grocery store, bank etc. In April of 2017 the Cafe purchased a minivan to help support the transport of individuals and smaller groups. We are now able to support clients two-three days a week with transportation services.
In February 2018 the Café created it newest service – a Music Program. This came about because one of our very dedicated volunteers shared with us her passion to provide music lessons for children who otherwise would not have an opportunity. The program started with five children receiving piano lessons on Monday evening at our office and in October it was expanded with the addition of three more on Wednesday. The Music Program has its own support committee to help raise funds and manage the program, if you are interested in helping out please contact a staff member.
Additional services are provided through partnerships with other non-profits. The Family Medical Clinic comes weekly to provide medical services. The Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, the Bridge Fund, Christian Brothers, and Bonita Assistance work with us to provide financial assistance for rent, utilities, medical prescriptions and transportation to medical appointments or job interviews. Amigo Center helps with legal documentation. Churches provide assistance through Love Inc. We are a United Way Partner Agency who helps coordinate nonprofit services.