Photo Essay

The economic recession has taken a toll on the American budget. As more people lose their jobs, more people are having difficulty putting food on the table. Fortunately, organizations like First AME Church in Oakland are there to provide a valuable safety net for people going hungry in the surrounding neighborhood. First AME’s feeding ministry already provides free meals at its church every Tuesday and Friday afternoon to people in need of food. But noticing an increasing number of people looking for a hot meal because of the recession, the church in July decided to expand its feeding program to Wednesday nights as well. The Wednesday program is called Dinner at 5. A group of committed volunteers, in collaboration with students from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, serve the meals with a spirit of kindness to everyone who walks through the doors. “It’s a supplemental meal,” said the Rev. Michael Mitchell, the church’s minister of outreach and coordinator of the feeding ministry program. “But with Dinner at 5 you can come in and look at getting something other than a sandwich.”

This is “Dinner at 5,” a photo essay I did in 2009.