On March 22, 2019, we walked into Grace Place and were greeted by friendly volunteers. A staff member named Andrea welcomed us into her office and took time to answer every question we had. One issue that kept coming up was the organization’s financial struggles. Andrea told us how Grace Place is still trying to recover from the costs of the government shutdown. The number of people seeking assistance doubled during the government shutdown, but Grace Place never turned anyone away.
There are many forms of assistance that Grace Place provides to individuals in need. On Thursdays, Grace Place hands out bags of food that includes fresh meat and produce. The bags are free to any individual who is currently receiving SNAP benefits. Another program they offer is called Christmas Child Outreach. During the month of December, Grace Place gives gifts to children in the community. Each gift contains a warm hat, gloves, a stuffed animal, and a bag of goodies. Approximately 800 children receive these gifts each year.
On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, Grace Place opens its soup kitchen and clothes closet. Andrea showed us the clothes closet and we were both impressed. They call it a closet, but it is a rather large room that has more than just clothes. It also has furniture, dinnerware, and other household items that people may need if they are moving into a new home. All items are free of charge unless someone feels the need to pay a small fee. After visiting the clothes closet, we went to the soup kitchen located on the other side of the building. The soup kitchen serves around 3,000 hot meals each month. Volunteers from church groups, school groups, or civic groups usually do the cooking. A church group was cooking during our visit and every person seemed very happy to be there. The kitchen was very organized and clean. Sometimes items are donated that individuals can take home with them after they finish eating. On the day we were there, someone had donated about a dozen crates filled with apples. Starbucks had given leftover pastries and some other group donated cartons of milk