St. Bartholomew's Wednesday night meal marks 1st anniversary in Cambridge

Every Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. for the past year, student and parish volunteers have served Cambridge Community Meal dinner at St. Bartholomew's Church to the homeless and hungry in Cambridge's Central Square.  The meal program, originally named "Feed the Hungry," is being renamed "Wednesday Evening Community Meal" to mark its one year anniversary.

“On the last Wednesday of October 2011, at our first meal, we served about 15 people.  The program has quadrupled since then," the Rev. Leslie K. Sterling, Priest-in-Charge of St. Bartholomew's Church, said in a news release announcing the anniversary.  “This ministry is a challenge for our parish budget, but we are confident that the resources we need will come to us because we are acting in love and doing what is right for our neighbors who are struggling,” she said.

The cooperative effort of several local groups and organizations makes the meal possible each week.  MIT Hillel helped launch the project by providing funding for the purchase of start-up supplies, and by encouraging the vision of the original director of the project, Benjamin Francis.  The current project coordinator, Sharone Small, is also a member of MIT Hillel.  MIT volunteers have been joined by students from Boston University and Harvard Divinity School as participation has grown.  The Food for Free program of the Cambridge Economic Opportunity Committee donates produce and other staples for the meal.  St. Bartholomew's Church is purchasing poultry and beef from its community outreach funds, and parishioners provide extra hands for meal preparation, serving and clean-up.

Wednesday Evening Community Meal was founded on the simple assumption that it is wrong for any man, woman or child to go hungry at night, organizers said in the news release, adding that those who make the ministry possible are from many different faith backgrounds and that some have none:  "Volunteers who do not practice any religion are equally moved by simple compassion for their fellow human beings, and determination to make the world a better place."