In Lincoln, night arrives quickly this time of year. As the sky darkens around 5 p.m., warm light shines from within the old brick house on the corner of E and Goodhue streets. The smell of homemade macaroni and cheese wafts out the door and down past the porch, where people await a hot evening meal from Community Action’s Gathering Place.
“The Gathering Place is somewhere I go to connect,” said Darwin, a guest. “It’s a place I eat, but it’s also a place I see people I haven’t seen in a while. So it’s more than just food.”
Every night, hundreds of people like Darwin stop by the old brick house for a taste of home cooking and friendly conversation. Meals are provided to-go from the Gathering Place’s front porch. Every year, the Gathering Place serves over 30,000 free hot evening meals to anyone in need. This year, thanks to the support of generous sponsors, monetary donations to the Gathering Place are being matched dollar-for-dollar through Dec. 31.
The match is made possible thanks to the generosity of several campaign sponsors, including lead sponsor Acklie Charitable Foundation, as well as Miriam Moeller Charitable Trust, Union Bank and Trust, Horizon Bank and Bukaty Companies. This year’s goal is to raise $121,000 to support the work of the Gathering Place.
“We are so humbled by the support we’ve seen for the Gathering Place this year,” said Vi See, Community Action’s executive director. “Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, we’ve been serving record numbers of meals, and without this support, we would not be able to keep up with the growing need. Every night, new people visit the Gathering Place. Right now, many are seeking support for the first time in their lives.”
Since the match campaign began on Oct. 14, over $98,000 has been raised to support the soup kitchen’s work to fight hunger in Lincoln. Since March, the number of individuals served per night has doubled and continues to grow.
“This year has proven that anyone at any time might find themselves in a crisis situation,” said See. “At the Gathering Place, we’re working to make sure that everyone, no matter their circumstances, can continue to meet their most basic needs. This work is only possible because of community support.”
All contributions will support the Gathering Place’s work to provide hot, nutritious meals to anyone who needs them in Lincoln. Meals are available from 5-6 p.m. nightly, free of charge.
To donate, visit www.communityactionatwork.org or mail contributions to: Community Action Partnership of Lancaster and Saunders Counties, Attn: The Gathering Place, 210 O St., Lincoln, NE 68508.