Throughout the course of history, humans have explored and pushed forward, hitting limitations and pushing past them. It’s how any and all of us are here today. We were once constrained by mountain chains, oceans, and raging rivers, but we kept climbing, and learning how to build boats and bridges. We found ways to cross those barriers and keep the story of human progress moving. Today we are still pushing, finding our limitations as a people. Many of us are seeing our communities prosper economically while childhood poverty rates continue to rise. That means more kids going to school hungry. Which means more kids with their attention focused on surviving day-to-day, week-to-week. When they are able to eat it often isn’t a nutritional meal. It becomes about what will sustain life in the moment, with no reason or energy to hope for anything better in the future. That’s a trying life for an adult, imagine having to think like that as a child. They aren’t learning the same way their peers are. These kids are more likely to drop out, become involved in criminal activity and substance abuse, suffer from health issues, and remain in poverty. When they have children of their own the cycle repeats. In a nutshell, that’s the nutrition gap, and it keeps widening. Women & Children’s Free Restaurant & Community Kitchen is working to bridge that gap in Spokane.
On Friday, September 14, Women & Children’s Free Restaurant & Community Kitchen invited Spokane to join them on the renovated South Howard Street Channel Bridge in Riverfront Park for the second annual Dinner on the Bridge: Celebrating Farm-to-Fork. They were hoping to repeat the success of the first dinner which saw 240 guests raise $57,000, helping WCFR run not only the full-service restaurant, but also get healthy meals where they are needed in our community with the Nutrition-To-Go program and educate families about their physical and financial health with the Nutrition Essentials program. (Event note: as of press time, WCFR has surpassed 2017 event revenues!)
This year, guests enjoyed award-winning wines and a five-course alfresco dinner featuring locally sourced ingredients prepared by Executive Chef Melissa Berry, Head Chef Andrea Lejeune-Weiler, and their wonderful volunteers. Daniel Butler, Kitchen Manager at The Onion also volunteered his services. From the Champagne Reception to the decadent dessert offerings, waitstaff and volunteers worked hard to ensure a memorable experience. All of them along with the guests packing the long tables show the impact Women & Children’s Free Restaurant & Community Kitchen has had in this community. WCFR has been working to bridge the nutrition gap in Spokane for 30 years, and our community is showing that as long as that gap exists, WCFR will continue to work toward a healthier future.