Meals 4 Healing is a new initiative in Fort Wayne, stemming from the city’s Fort Wayne UNITED initiative and was created to support the families of homicide victims.
Organizers say it’s about more than providing food. It shows residents that the city cares and supports them.
The initiative was launched by the Fort Wayne UNITED clergy subcommittee and with the help of the Victim Assistance team, families will be identified and given the option to participate in the program. If families accept, hot meals will be distributed by local churches.
Jessica Crozier, the director of Victim Assistance with the Fort Wayne Police Department, explained how the new program will be implemented.
First ,their office will introduce the program to the families after a tragedy happens.
“If they chose to do it, we will fill out the application in our office and then we work with Fort Wayne UNITED, and they communicate that to the churches and get them involved. We’ll do it in rotation so they will take that family for five days and provide meals for them. We have two different time slots, and they’ll decide what time slot is best for them. And then the church will simply go out there and deliver the meal to them,” said Crozier.
Joe Jordan, Co-chair of Fort Wayne UNITED says they did trial runs before the launch to make sure they are being respectful and flexible.
“A lot of times when they go through this, a lot of families don’t want to be bothered at all. They grieve silently and so we have to respect that. So not everybody is going to embrace the program but we are going to offer it,” said Jordan.
Mayor Tom Henry says this was a solemn subject but he also wants to celebrate the initiative.
“The fact that we had the Fort Wayne Police Department, Victims Assistance and Fort Wayne UNITED and social service agencies and our faith-based communities all come together because they recognized a need. They worked together over the past several months and identified something that really is a need, yet very few people ever realize that,” said Henry.
The churches involved include: Blackhawk Ministries, Hope Community Church, King’s Community Outreach, New Covenant Worship Center, Pathway Community Church, The Chapel, Trinity English Lutheran Church and Wallen Baptist Church. The places of worship will provide the families with additional support; like free services, support groups, and local resources.
Other partners in the initiative include The Fort Wayne Police Department and Parkview Health.