This year, as the pandemic swelled the ranks of the hungry, Lancaster's Parish Resource Center stepped up its support of the Lancaster Community Meal Program, which provides free meals seven days a week to those in need.
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When it did, the center's staff members realized something: There was no comprehensive, up-to-date public list of available meals.
"So we created a new website just for that purpose," said Rhoda Shirk, the center's coordinator of community initiatives.
The site, OurCommunityMeals.org, is simple and mobile-friendly. It lists the current schedule for meals along with recent and upcoming changes.
PDFs versions can be downloaded in English or Spanish (a full Spanish version of the site is planned soon, Shirk said) and users can sign up to be notified by email of future changes.
"We are working with all of the meal providers to keep it up to date," Shirk said. "We want everyone to know where to find a meal."
The Lancaster Community Meal Program is a loose coalition of local churches and nonprofits. In existence since 2002, it serves more than 150,000 meals in a typical year.
The Parish Resource Center is a local nonprofit that helps service providers expand their capacity. In response to the pandemic, it began "a more direct service role" through the meal program, including serving the Sunday evening meal.