Free meal program saved thanks to volunteer efforts


One day a week, you’ll find Marty Kelley wiping down the tables at the Crispus Attucks Center hot meal program.

Kelley, a spunky retiree who lives in Lancaster, likes volunteering at the center in Lancaster because she feels like it’s a family.

“People are known here,” Kelley said. “Dexter, the chef, knows who can eat hamburger, who doesn’t eat pork.”

Kelley just made sure the free meal program will continue to run for the next three years.

Community Action Partnership, which runs the free lunch program, said last month that it would close it down because of a lack of money.

This was supposed to be the last week for the free lunch program, which serves meals five days a week.

Kelley said she saw that as an injustice.

“It’s such a great program,” she said. “It’s so much more than food. It is a place to be. I think of it as an oasis in people’s lives.”

Kelley said she reached out to her “Lancaster friends” to generate a stable revenue source.

“Lancaster wide, this is important to us,” Kelley said of the free lunch program. “It’s part of our city. We care.”

Kelley has been able to secure pledges totaling about $25,000 for three years. 

Dan Jurman, CEO of Community Action Partnership, said that’s enough to keep serving meals twice a week. 

The center will now serve meals on Tuesday and Thursday afternoon.

Jurman said the money Kelley helped raise will also help the Crispus Attucks Center grow a catering business, which administrators hope will provide money to keep the lunch program open down the road.

“Right here in this city, we have some incredibly generous people,” Kelley said.

Kelley said she still wants to raise more money so the center can resume serving lunches five days a week. 

Want to help? You can learn more donating by clicking here.

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