OCP is a community center that provides free meals, supportive employment, and activities that nurture a safe, and empowering environment for those experiencing homelessness and marginalization.
Our programming includes four cooperative community meals that take place each week, as well as showers, lockers, laundry, free Wi-Fi, and indoor and outdoor spaces for recreation and programming. We operate a kitchen-based supportive employment program that provides stable employment to community members who struggle to function in the open job market.
OCP serves an average of 40 individuals per meal, totaling 8,320 meals per year. The kitchen enterprise includes the Friday Lunch Restaurant and box lunch catering, and has employed three individuals at $8.00/hour for 25-hours/week over the past 18-months. The enterprise is a small business initiative designed to provide jobs, income, and training to community members who face a variety of barriers to employment. The Friday Lunch Restaurant has received tremendous response from customers, and has become a hub for local residents and college students, and an empowering volunteer opportunity for our community members. Our supportive employment approach offers the long-term stability necessary to promote healing and the development of a positive self-image among enterprise employees, so that participants can meet their basic needs and work holistically on other challenges in their lives. Supportive mentoring activities have included financial coaching and counseling, and has helped participants remain housed, access mental health and recovery services, and address long-deferred dental care needs.
Beyond serving meals and offering employment, OCP empowers community members by providing ample opportunities to participate through volunteering and self-expression. There are always art supplies on hand for drawing and painting, we host a weekly drum circle, and volunteers periodically offer workshops in creative writing, pottery, and other visual arts. Our Tuesday work day and Friday Lunch Restaurant rely on the volunteerism of our community members, and our formal membership gives participants opportunities to make decisions about programming and building rules. We have recently begun offering case management services to community members who have asked for help accessing resources.