Introducing Bridging the Gap and the Lee Street Feeding Project

In the New Year, we’ll start following a fascinating couple and their mission to feed the homeless with more than just the basic necessities. Two classically trained chefs with love in their hearts for one another and their community, Carol and Dawn Cooper work closely with the Episcopal Church where I am the Director of Communications, and I sat down recently to talk with them about what they do, why they do it, and how.

Our time together was filled with humor, compassion, travel tips, gardening secrets, warmth, and, of course, food. I can’t wait to share it with you, but I want to be sure to do it justice, so for now, here’s a brief photographic introduction to the work they do, thanks to Lisa Williams, an active volunteer in the parish.

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Here’s Carol, all smiles as she preps the December 15 dinner. Vegetables are a staple for the Coopers’ mission.
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Some more volunteers from December 15. That’s Dawn on the far right hand side.
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While it isn’t terribly clear here (don’t worry; there will be more photos after the New Year), those containers are not mere sustenance. They are lovingly crafted, taste-tested, much-loved recipes Dawn and Carol either picked up at the Culinary Institute of America or created on their own.

 

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The Lee Street project doesn’t stop at food. Here in Florida, we don’t get a lot of cold weather, but when we do, it’s pretty chilly. That, and some of the project’s frequent visitors are also frequent travelers. Blankets become an added grace in the winter. That’s Lisa, so I’m assuming someone other than her took this picture. Such intensity.
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From Lisa about the blanket distribution: “Through our Hotcakes for Jesus presence, Waterfront Rescue Mission set aside an allotment of 400 blankets for Christ Church. That was too much for us to store, so 200 blankets were given to First Baptist Church for their annual Christmas luncheon for the homeless on 12/17. On the 15th, Bridging the Gap distributed approximately 75.” These blankets came courtesy of Farm Share Florida.

One of the most interesting things about the Coopers and their work is how selfless and humble they are and how those traits seem to work to their advantage. There’s no website, no social media, no high-profile sponsorship. Yet the number of people they feed and the number of volunteers who get involved grows almost weekly. They’re certainly doing something right, and we’ll be there with them for this journey starting in 2017.

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