After a fire last November that destroyed their giant kitchen and drew national attention, Long Island-based Hope for the Future Ministries plans to begin serving hot meals again next month in Tompkins Square Park.
“We’ll have a grand reopening,” said Pastor Diane Dunn, who has been providing food and household items to people in the park for the past 22 years.
Since the fire, Pastor Dunn and her church have continued coming to the park on Wednesday evenings with groceries from the food bank, hot dogs and other donations from a neighboring restaurant. On Saturdays next month they will start serving full hot meals, everything from Salisbury steak to cake.
Over 200 people come each week to “the line,” in the park, with the seniors given priority to get their food first. But the faces on the “the line” have changed, she said.
“I’ve seen a change in the population who comes here—more middle class unemployed, who’ve run out of their unemployment,” Ms. Dunn said. “Numbers were down for a while and then when the recession hit—Boom! They increased.”