Friday Feast is an all-ages meal provided by ROOTS every Friday between 5:30 and 7:00PM that is open to anyone in the community who would like to attend.
A Brief History and Description of Friday Feast
Friday Feast was started in 1996 by former ROOTS Executive Director Sinan Demirel. It was a way of honoring the memory of his mother, a woman dedicated to service and hospitality. It began as an experiment in anarchy; could a gourmet meal be prepared as a community volunteer effort, for dozens of people in need without any funding or purchasing of food or any formal organization whatsoever? Sinan rallied his colleagues in the Sociology department to try to do something less theoretical and more hands-on. He started dumpster diving and petitioning local bakeries and groceries in order to glean their throwaways.
The idea was often met with resistance by many organizations and faith communities. Finally Anne Hall of University Baptist Church stuck her neck out, and the first meal was served there to about 35 people in March of ’96. Soon the numbers grew to about 60, and four years later about 90 people regularly accessed the program.
In April of 2000, Friday Feast moved into University Temple Methodist Church. About the same time the Thrift Store started, and a fruitful and symbiotic relationship was established. A young adult shelter was meeting in the building one night a week at the time, and Sinan was eventually hired to expand the shelter. He did this under the stipulation that Friday Feast be included in the larger vision and budget. This larger vision is what we now know as ROOTS.
Today Friday Feast has served well over 100,000 meals. From its inception, it is unique in that it aims to provide a restaurant quality meal to the homeless population of Seattle with a respect for the dignity of the population it serves. Everyone is welcome. Now as in the beginning, Friday Feast patrons often play integral roles in the production and execution of every meal. It still operates almost entirely on donated materials and volunteer labor.
The result of all this is a highly respected program. Real Change newspaper has called Friday Feast “The best of all soup kitchens”.