After 28 years at the same location, the Federal Way Community Caregiving Network is seeking a new location to host its Monday night community meals.
The meals have taken place once a week at Steel Lake Presbyterian Church since 1989, but FWCCN board officials were recently told the church is selling the facility, and the network would have to find a new location for its Monday night meals.
According to www.commercialmls.com, the facility, 1820 S. 308th St., Federal Way, was listed at $3.8 million in early December 2016. The community group’s Past-President Doug Johnson said a buyer has apparently been found for the Steel Lake Presbyterian Church facility. He said he was told the church was being sold because the congregation intends to move to a smaller property. The current site includes a 42,850-square-foot church, gym and house situated on 3.44 acres.
Jack Dovey, Federal Way Community Caregiving Network board president, said the organization was informed three weeks ago it had five weeks to vacate the site. Dovey said the network may have some opportunity to stay there on a week-to-week basis, and church officials have not given FWCCN a final move-out date. Still, the network is diligently looking for a new location.
The two other community meal sites, which take place at Calvary Lutheran Church on Thursdays and The Church of the Good Shepherd on Saturdays, are not affected.
Dovey said the caregiving network serves between 80 and 115 dinners to homeless people or those in need of a meal every Monday.
“They’re very, very important,” he said.
Dovey said a large number of regular people attend, as well as people who drop in upon occasion when they need a meal.
“That’s been a mainstay meal for a very, very long time in Federal Way,” Dovey said, adding Steel Lake Presbyterian Church has been a great community partner through the years.
At the same time, Dovey said the organization is diligently searching for a new location. He said the FWCCN is contacting different churches to see if they can provide a possible location. Federal Way city officials, including Mayor Jim Ferrell, are also trying to help the group secure a temporary location in a city-owned building.
“The city has been very, very helpful,” Dovey said, adding Ferrell and Parks Director John Hutton both reached out to board members when they heard the network needed a new site. “They’ve really taken an active role in trying to make this happen.”
Dovey said the new meal site does have specific requirements, including a facility that has the space to feed 80 to 120 people every Monday. It also needs to be accessible — accommodating people with disabilities and have adequate space for parking. The site also needs to have a commercial kitchen and have space for the Federal Way Community Caregiving Network’s hardware, including three standing freezers, a refrigerator and stove. Dovey said the main multipurpose room should be able to fit between 10 and 14 tables, which would seat up to eight people, and the kitchen should be able to accommodate the six to nine volunteers serving the meals.
FWCCN Board Past-President Doug Johnson said, in addition to being located on a bus line, ideally the new site would be centrally located in the city’s downtown core, or a 10-block radius of Pacific Highway South and South 320th Street.
According to the FWCCN website, volunteers served more than 12,000 meals in 2015, and Johnson estimated the organization serves between 200 and 300 people a week at the three sites. The Monday night community meals, however, have always been well-attended, Johnson said.
“It’s really important, as a community, we find a place to house the supper,” he said.
Dovey said Steel Lake Presbyterian Church donated its space to the organization, and the FWCCN is hoping somebody will do the same in the future.
“One thing that’s very unique about our association is we have no paid staff and very little overhead,” Dovey said, adding the money that is donated to the organization is used to feed the homeless or people in need of a meal or support the network’s other charitable works. “We don’t have a huge budget to rent places.”
For more information about Federal Way Community Caregiving Network, visit www.fwccn.org, or contact 253-661-0505. Federal Way Community Caregiving Network is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.