At City Hall Park, soup’s on again.
On Feb. 16, workers from Bread of Life Mission will once again serve meals to homeless people and anyone who shows up. The meal is served every third Saturday at 11 a.m.
Bread of Life had served monthly meals there for three years without a permit, but in January, when workers for the mission applied for one, Parks and Recreation denied its request.
The city’s Human Services Department has said mission workers can serve meals at the park until they work out how outdoor meals are served in Seattle. Mission Executive Director Pastor Willie Parish met with city officials, Operation Sack Lunch Executive Director Beverly Graham and officials from the Pioneer Square Alliance to work out how to manage serving meals in the park.
But outdoor feeding has long been controversial in downtown Seattle, and a solution has yet to be found. In January 2012, Human Services Department head Dannette Smith attempted to shut down the Operation Sack Lunch meal site underneath Interstate 5 at Sixth Avenue and Columbia Street because of neighbors’ complaints about litter and camping.
That decision was later reversed, and a task force was created to explore the possibility of a centralized kitchen somewhere downtown where any number of organizations could cook and serve hot meals.
Graham, who serves on the task force, said city officials are trying to make sure meal programs are not concentrated only downtown and in Pioneer Square.
“Let’s figure out how to get the food into places where people aren’t getting any other services,” Graham said.