Delaware’s Ministry of Caring: Improving the Lives of Delaware’s Poor and Homeless
From the Emmanuel Dining Room to the organization’s numerous integrated programs, the Ministry of Caring seeks to improve the lives of the state’s underserved communities.
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Providing Food and a Warm Welcome
Anyone who has ever passed the Emmanuel Dining Room on Jackson Street in Wilmington at breakfast or noontime has seen many men, women and children lined up for a meal, which for some might be their only meal of the day. The Emmanuel Dining Room has two additional sites—a second in Wilmington, and one in New Castle. In total, the three sites serve an average of 585 meals a day—up to 900 at the end of the month when people tend to run out of money.
The food at Emmanuel Dining Room is nutritious: a recent weekday featured a main course of rice, beans and ground beef with broccoli, brownies, and coffee as well as milk for the children. And the service stands apart. Instead of going through a serving line, patrons are warmly welcomed and served at their tables by volunteers. It’s yet another way of fulfilling the ministry’s motto of never treating the poor poorly. “We want to feed our guests food, of course, but also to feed their spirits,” says Capuchin Brother Miguel Ramirez, Emmanuel Dining Room director.
“Volunteers are the heart of the dining rooms,” he adds. They are individuals like Thea Kersey, a former Cambodian refugee who understands what it’s like to search in trash cans for food. They are former guests who return to help those who haven’t yet overcome adversity. And they are the many volunteers from 99 churches, synagogues, employer and community groups.
People come to the dining room for a variety of reasons. They may be homeless, living under the I-95 bridge near Jackson Street; they may have lost their jobs, been bankrupted by medical bills, or had their gas or electricity turned off because they couldn’t pay. That’s why the dining room also provides referrals to other Ministry of Caring programs.