OPERATION: Sack Lunch Programs
Operating the only non-bio toxic charity kitchen with an organic ethic in the United States, OSL specializes in dietary restrictions including, but not limited to; gluten intolerant, diabetic, cardio vascular, auto-immune, allergies/sensitivities, vegetarian, and faith based choices. OSL chefs have received holistic nutritional training and training in culturally appropriate cuisine. We also cater events such as seminars and weddings, with delectable offerings prepared by our excellent Chefs; including wedding cakes, appetizers, and full course meals. All proceeds from our catering services pay for the meals we provide at no-cost to those in need.
OSL operates five satellite programs that work in conjunction with our core meal program:
- Food in Motion: a food rescue program that saves more than 250,000 lbs each year of viable food before it hits the waste stream. We have 42 vendor partners that we rescue food from, and 26 meal provider partners that we deliver rescued food to serve to their clientele.
- Next Step: our holistic chef training program for un-housed or economically challenged individuals following the American Culinary curriculum. We also provide classes on the preparation of nutritionally dense meals to those who use donated/foodbank goods as their primary food source.
- Meals Partnership Coalition: an advocacy and education alliance, for more than 70 meal providers in King County serving compromised populations.
- Outdoor Meal Site: managed by OSL for the City of Seattle, the OMS was created to provide a safe, sheltered, and sanitary site where un-housed and food insecure individuals are served with dignity and care.
- OSL Volunteer Program: OSL provides community service and urban plunging opportunities for more than 3,800 volunteers a year. Our volunteers visit us from all over the world.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
In February 2012, the City of Seattle notified us of their intent to close down the Outdoor Meal Site (OMS). The current OMS was created by OSL in partnership with the City of Seattle government in 2006, to provide a safe, clean, and dignified place to serve meals to those in our community who are unable, for whatever reason, to access nutritional support in any other way. OSL proactively sought support from the greater community, the Meals Partnership Coalition, and Seattle City Council to delay the closure of the site and we were instrumental in the creation of a task force consisting of a variety of community members whose task is to insure continued service to the more than 400 guests served from the OMS each day while analyzing other/additional options and their impact.
In March 2012, OSL expanded our service and preparation of meals in the kitchens of three new transitional housing units in Seattle. The increase in service has brought our monthly meal totals to more than 30,000 meals a month, and the residents are raving about the increased quality of the meals that they are receiving.
With funding granted by the Seattle Foundation in 2007 for the purchase of a much needed refrigerated van, OSL began to implement a food rescue program through a partnership with Food Life Line. Collaborating with members of the Seattle University Executive Leadership Program in 2008 we were able to formalize this program, Food In Motion, to include distribution of this quality and viable food among the myriad meal programs in Seattle, all with different needs. Over the past few years we have formed partnerships with more than 46 donors: Food Distributors, Restaurants, Caterers, Farmers Markets and Farmers. Food In Motion currently rescues more than 33,000 lbs a month of viable nutritious food before it entered the waste stream and we deliver this food to other meal provider organization in need to serve to their client base. Our most immediate need is general funding for staffing the entire OSL program.