Oak City Outreach Center serves 100,000th meal

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Volunteers dish up plates.

On a drizzly Sunday morning, with a line of people snaking around the building, volunteers started dishing up plates of steaming food to hungry - and in many cases, homeless - people in downtown Raleigh's Oak City Outreach Center around 11 a.m.

Over the next two hours, a little over 200 meals would be served up.

A similar scene plays out every Saturday and Sunday and last weekend, the Center hit a major milestone: 100,000 meals served.

It's a watershed moment for a grassroots effort that was born out of a hunger crisis in Raleigh.

Two years ago, city police began enforcing an outmoded policy that prevented people from handing out food in Moore Square.

That led to a public-outcry and search for solutions. A large group of community members, advocacy groups and faith-based organizations came together with the city and the Oak City Outreach Center was born.

"It's an honor to work with more than four dozen community groups who provide meals and sixty unique law enforcement officers who have participated in supporting Oak City Outreach Center," said Shana Overdorf, the Executive Director of the Raleigh/Wake Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness.

"The Center is a true case study in problem solving," Overdorf continued, "and the Partnership is proud to be working with all those that make the Center what it is and what it does."

Overdorf said the Center was never meant to be a permanent solution. "The Partnership is taking a lead role in developing and building a new multi-service center for homeless people in Wake County," Overdorf said. "It will provide a single point of entry for folks in and around Raleigh who need a suite of support services."

The multi-services center is still at least three years from completion. Overdorf says the group is just now looking at possible designs and locations.

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