Some mornings, Lawrence's homeless can eat a free breakfast twice. But the federal government will pay for just one of those meals.
Authorities who distribute federal grant money in Lawrence decided this month they will support only one of the programs, the Jubilee Cafe. The other, the Community Drop-In Center, is scrambling to replace lost funding.
Jo Bryant, chair of the Emergency Food and Shelter Local Board, said the decision should encourage the two groups to consolidate their efforts.
"Our resources are not unlimited," Bryant said.
Tami Clark, director of the drop-in center at 214 W. 10th St., said she'd have a tough time paying for the milk that accompanies breakfast at her center.
"I know there's only so much funding to go around," Clark said. "I was just hoping they'd be a little more fair in the distribution of limited funds."
The shoe was on the other foot in 2003, however.
Bryant's board distributes grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to local agencies that provide food, rental and utility assistance to the city's poor. Last year, the board decided to fund the drop-in center and cut off Jubilee Cafe, which serves its meals down the street at First United Methodist Church, 946 Vt. That forced cafe volunteers into a $3,000 fund-raising effort to keep the program running through the summer.
Attempts to contact cafe advocates Monday were unsuccessful.
The drop-in center serves a continental breakfast Monday through Friday, and served more than 13,000 meals in 2004. The cafe is open Tuesdays and Fridays, when it serves a more extensive meal to an average of more than 100 guests a day.
The two days Jubilee is open, officials acknowledge, a free breakfast is available twice.
"We do serve a lot of the same people," Clark said. She suggested Bryant's board split the funding between the two groups.
Bryant said the board would rather see the cafe and the drop-in center coordinate their efforts. Her board received $80,000 in funding requests this year for about $48,000 in available grant money.
Jubilee Cafe requested $5,000 for its breakfast program; Bryant's board was able to fund just half that. The drop-in center, which asked for $4,300, was the only agency to make a request that didn't receive any funding.
|Two organizations serve breakfast to the homeless:¢ Jubilee Cafe, basement of First United Methodist Church, 946 Vt. Call 864-4073 for more information.¢ Community Drop-In Center, 214 W. 10th St. Call 832-8864 for more information.|
"We're very fond of both organizations and think they're doing a good job," Bryant said. "We're trying to do the best we can with the money we have."