WOMEN’S SHELTER MEAL COMPLAINTS
Portions are small, food is spread thin because not enough food is being ordered for the number of women who sleep at the shelter. On average there are around or over 200 women who sleep at the shelter (222 on Sunday Nov 1, 2015) and 165 meals are ordered daily by the shelter for the women who stay there. Food runs out regularly and portions are spread thin.
Since Oct 26th until we raised this issue in early December, the lowest number of women has been 187 but on most days there were over 200 women who shared 165 meals. For nearly a year, the shelter was ordering only 165 meals until we pointed out this was a dramatic undercount in November 2015. The shelter has stopped allowing people to sign in over the 165 number, so it is impossible to get an accurate number of how many women are sleeping at the shelter. For some reason, the shelter is secretive about the numbers and is not transparent on things taking place at the shelter.
Updated December 2015: Since NEOCH and the Women began complaining the shelter began asking for 185 meals per night. There were more than 200 women on some nights. The shelter has made it more difficult for the women to see how many are sleeping at the shelter by limiting the sign in form.
Food is often served at room temperature.
Often the food, ie: chili, is way too spicy and a lot of the women cannot eat it. It is often overcooked which renders it inedible.
The menu from Central Kitchen often mentions treats, they are rarely served to the residents.
There is no vegetarian alternative served for women who are vegetarians. They make their own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
The food has little to no nutritional value, women complain about getting sick.
There is a shelter rule that women cannot bring any food into the shelter, not even into the cafeteria. Women have resorted to sneaking food into the shelter because they are starving and they want healthy food and they get put out for up to three days until 9:30 pm and receive disciplinary action against them for bringing food in. It does not make sense that if they run out of food why a woman cannot eat food she purchased in the cafeteria.
There have been times that dinner has made residents ill with stomach and gastrointestinal problems. One time around four residents got very ill and were throwing up. Some residents went to the hospital. Two residents threw up on their beds and were not allowed to change or wash their bedding.
Some women are on special diets ordered by their doctors, and the shelter has told the residents in a meeting that they will not honor the doctor’s requests because they feel it is being abused, and they will not order any items for special diets for the women, (low sodium, diabetic, etc).
A lot of women depend on being fed by agencies in a parking lot on Tuesdays and Saturdays because they don’t have any money for food. The women do not get full on the meals served at the shelter. There are women who get food stamps and they are not allowed to bring the food into the shelter. If found, the food is thrown in the trash. (Frontline ended the food service on Tuesday night in December 2015).
Rice and chicken are often undercooked only sometimes overcooked. This often makes the food inedible.
Often outside agencies bring food in for the residents, the staff does not allow the agencies to give out seconds when there is enough. The extra food, often pizza, is taken by the staff and not given to the residents. There has been a church that does not come back to the shelter because they were not allowed to serve the residents’ seconds when there was enough for everyone to have seconds.
If you have a work schedule, they tell you that you can get a late plate or breakfast and coffee in the morning before work. The shelter does not follow their own rules regarding the late plates. A resident turned in her work schedule and was not allowed to have breakfast or even a cup of coffee in the morning before work.
There have been times when cases of pop, cakes, and different food donations were brought through the door and never shared with the residents. Once there was a large party next door at the Fraternal Order of Police. It was a 2 day celebration. There were a lot of barbeque chicken legs left over and brought over and donated to the women’s shelter. Several residents saw it. It was never served or offered to the residents.