The community agency chosen is Elizabeth House, which is a community nonprofit food kitchen located in 308 Gorman Ave, Laurel Maryland, United States (Fish of Laurel, Inc,” n.d.). The reason for selecting Elizabeth House community agency is because it is a nonprofit kitchen agency that focuses on serving meals to the needy and homeless individuals in Laurel, Maryland community.
Brief History and Mission of Agency
Elizabeth House, as a nonprofit kitchen agency, has a long history as its roots can be traced to the year 1988. The agency was founded by Elizabeth Colnaghi, a veteran volunteer who dedicated her house basement since the 1970s as a food pantry to feed the needy, orphans, and the low-income individuals living in her Laurel neighborhood. It is Elizabeth’s act of kindness that led to the growth of the Elizabeth House into emergency transport and financial aid (Michaels, 2020). The Elizabeth House community kitchen has since grown and now with the help of numerous volunteers serves hundreds of poor and homeless individuals with hot meals in Maryland.
The services of Elizabeth House reach a wide variety of individuals including the poor and homeless people hailing from Anne Arundel County, Prince George’s County and Howard County. The number of people depending on Elizabeth House for daily meals has been on the rise since it was founded in the late 1980s. The Boy Scouts of America collects donations and issue the same to Elizabeth House to support charitable workings and operations of the nonprofit kitchen. Elizabeth House recorded a historic success in August 1995, when the house fed between 50-75 homeless individuals in one night. According to Michaels (2020), the officials of Laurel have confirmed that Elizabeth House fed 70-90 people in 1995 and gave 20 families three bags of groceries and 40 bagged lunches weekly with a record of 1,120 hot meals and lunches and two hundred and forty bags of groceries monthly. This is a historic feat considering that Elizabeth House is a small community-based kitchen run with minimum funding.
Most of the support Elizabeth House receives comes from the numerous food drives hosted in Laurel, Maryland by community-based charity organizations and event organizers. Operations of Elizabeth House kitchen are handled by a team of volunteers who prepare the food and help in its packing and dissemination to the homeless and destitute. For example, in 2019, 50 volunteers coming from the real estate management company, Southern Management, applied crisp layers of paint inside and outside the home, cut growth and laid new ground surface to level its mechanical kitchen (Michaels, 2020). The mission of the Elizabeth House is to ensure that no homeless and needy person in the community of Laurel, Maryland sleeps hungry or goes without a proper meal befitting a human.
Target Population Served
Elizabeth House does not work on a strict budget hence it has not set a specific target population. The target population is all homeless people in the community. Since Elizabeth House is a nonprofit organization that aims at feeding every single homeless and needy person in the community who shows up in the kitchen. On average, it serves 135 meals daily. This number does not cover the entire population of homeless people in the community although Elizabeth House is open to any number of people that come knocking for a hot meal.
Services and Programs Offered
Elizabeth House provides a home to the homeless by giving basic provisions like shelter and hot meals at night in a clean and dignified manner to those who are homeless and in need. A lot of homeless people come to Elizabeth House for hot meals and to engage in leisure and fun activities with other needy and homeless people living in the Laurel community. The volunteer-based agency depends on certain individuals working with the grocery and pantry distribution to volunteer every week and provide off-the-cuff dinners for its members in the few occasions Elizabeth House runs out of food.
It also gives lunch take outs to the majority of the individuals who live in the community. Free meals are also given to the volunteers who engage in spruce up services like cleaning, repainting, and renovations of the house. Elizabeth House also gives the community a satisfying sense of belonging and serves as a way of improving the quality of life for the needy, their families and the community at large. It brings in a sense of accomplishment and neighborhood in the community of Laurel, Maryland.
Criteria Clients Must Meet to Be Served by The Agency
There are no specific criteria that have to be met for one to be served by Elizabeth House. It is open to every member of the community, however, the agency mostly serves homeless people who depend on it for hot meals every night and clean place for having their meals (Michaels, 2020). The place is open to everyone and is supported by a team of volunteering members who work without pay. The food supplied to Elizabeth House is normally given by supportive merchants, farmers and community members through donations. At times the management of Elizabeth House community kitchen buys food supplies although at much-subsidized prices.
Between 30-50 individuals get supper ready on a day-to-day basis, including packed meals and snacks. Four to six volunteers help serve meals and later clean the kitchen, washrooms and eating areas at night. Elizabeth House opens between 6 pm to 7.30 pm to allow the needy to have their hot meals (Fish of Laurel, Inc,” n.d.). The kitchen receives donations daily from a quarter past four to quarter past five in the evening during the weekdays and on Saturdays, between 10 am to 12 noon. The agency has always had a demand for vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, romaine lettuce and carrots as most people prefer them.
Interesting Thing About Agency
What I found interesting about the agency is that it is a nonprofit organization, running purely on volunteers’ efforts and donations. This is despite the fact that it has managed to serve homeless individuals since it was started in 1988 without halting operations in the kitchen for a single day. With all the challenges faced such as the increased number of homeless individuals in the United States and the harsh economic times, Elizabeth House has still managed to live up to its purpose. As a professional nurse, learning about the charitable operations of Elizabeth House, I realized that nursing is not all about the nursing skills and competencies that one has. Instead, it is about passion for nursing. Nursing is more about passion and dedication to the improvement of humanity as a whole. Through passion and dedication, tremendous steps in nursing can be made as seen in the case of Elizabeth House.
Fish of Laurel, Inc. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.fishoflaurel.org/
Michaels, A. (2020). Property management company ‘spruces up’ Elizabeth House in Laurel. Retrieved from https://www.baltimoresun.com/maryland/laurel/ph-ll-elizabeth-house-renovations-20171012-story.html