Every Monday at six for almost ten years, the Grace Diner has been open for dinner, offering a ‘restaurant experience’ for people who need a meal and want some company. It’s an idea that has inspired another church in Culver City to offer help as well. Culver-Palms United Methodist Church is now offering diner on the last Wednesday of the month, with hopes to move to a weekly schedule soon.
Organizer Ken Smith was at a table in front of Grace Lutheran Church on Overland Avenue on a recent Monday evening, overseeing a mini-food bank for people who need to take something else with them. “We have a fairly consistent crowd, and we have enough donations to serve the meal and then offer some more simple food to take afterwards. We serve about a hundred here, and then there are a dozen or so who need to take meals with them for people who can’t physically get here.”
It helps to have a steady population when creating community; when someone doesn’t show, there can be some outreach to make sure they are not isolated or injured. Organizer Lisa Skelly offered “Of course, it’s a very difficult kind of life – if you are homeless, you might think you can be somewhere at four in the afternoon and find out that you just can’t. So we do try to have some way to reach out to people if we haven’t seen them in a while, or if they have been attending regularly and then suddenly …” She shrugged, a visual punctuation on both frustration and acceptance.
The original plan for Grace Diner was that other churches in the area would also offer meals, and Culver-Palms United Methodist Church is now offering a monthly meal for the hungry on the last Wednesday of the month. With their next event scheduled for August 28th, dinner is early; 4:30 to 6 pm. The ‘CPUMC Cafe’ is still in early stages, and is looking for donations and volunteers to help.
Grace Lutheran Church – 310-559-1027
Culver Palms United Methodist Church – 310-390-7717