Talley Breedlove is a Seattle Service Corps Intern and has been working at St. Luke’s Edible Hope Kitchen since this past September. She is leaving us this month and this is a reflection of her time working at Edible Hope Kitchen.
I came to Edible Hope as part of my placement with Seattle Service Corps. I am from the Diocese of Western North Carolina which I keep leaving to find opportunities within the church to learn and explore. Before COVID, I was in Young Adult Service Corps working in the Philippines doing asset-based community development work for The Episcopal Church in the Philippines. Episcopal Service Corps and the program here in Seattle came as another way to learn nonprofit work.
Edible Hope is my first time working in depth with a program meeting immediate needs. It has been a very meaningful and enriching experience to meet neighborhood members that for various reasons have been disenfranchised. My internship at Edible Hope started with me working Monday – Thursday helping the other 2 staff members meet daily demands. The National Guard, who had been helping run operations during the worst of the pandemic, had recently left but Edible Hope’s volunteer cohort hadn’t come back yet. In addition to being short staffed, St. Luke’s Canon Britt left on her long overdue Sabbatical. In true Edible Hope fashion, each day was an adventure as we addressed cooking, feeding, managing operations, recruiting volunteers, and handling matters of ministry of the church.
Through my time at Edible Hope, I have seen what happens when a community comes together to meet a goal. During the first week of January when Seattle was shut down because of the snow, Edible Hope was open. The director came and picked me and other volunteers up, driving her parent’s 4 wheel drive car so that we could open the kitchen to feed people in Ballard. We opened our doors (and windows) and allowed folks to come in out of the freezing cold and eat at a time many services had to stay closed.
In December, Ballard Commons was swept and closed. Leading up to this sweep, social workers that worked in the encampment worked hard to find housing opportunities for everyone. Many of our regular guests were among those to be moved to hotels, senior living, and tiny home communities. Every once in a while, some of them will come by to say hi and tell us how they are doing. Women that I met when I first arrived are now living in apartments, one is on a successful sobriety journey, and they are getting the healthcare and other aids they need. They have been almost giddy when they come to show us how they are doing and it is wonderful getting to catch up with them and see their smiling familiar faces again.
Edible Hope is in a time of transition. St. Luke’s development project has given Edible Hope an opportunity to look at their mission and goals. Edible Hope is a special place that welcomes guests into being members of a community with home cooked style food and genuine interest and concern. We believe that community piece of Edible Hope is what makes this program so important and through any coming changes, some things will always stay the same. It has been a wonderful opportunity to learn from this organization building community, supporting individuals wherever they are in life, and serving some great food.