Nourishing the body and mind

In June 2003, the Lost and Found Cafe opened its doors and began serving meals to the hungry and homeless in Camas-Washougal.

After being identified as an important need in the community during a countywide symposium in 2002, Lost and Found Cafe became the very first free meal program offered in East Clark County.

The initial endeavor was a partnership between the Inter-Faith Treasure House and the Camas Church of the Nazarene, where the weekly meal program was held.

At the time, Treasure House Executive Director Nancy Wilson described the free meals as “simple and healthy.”

“The meal will be simple, but hot and nourishing,” she said. “People will leave full and fulfilled.”

And for more than a decade now, those who visit the Lost and Found Cafe each week have been nourished — emotionally and physically.

Today, Lost and Found Cafe serves meals on Mondays and Thursdays, at 6 p.m., at Zion Lutheran Church in Camas. Each month, approximately 500 people receive a free dinner thanks to the efforts of the partners and the program’s volunteers.

Profiled in today’s Post-Record are the stories of some of those volunteers, many of whom have been contributing their time to the Lost and Found Cafe nearly from its inception.

The backgrounds of the volunteers who prepare the food, cook the meals, and clean-up afterwards each week are as diverse as those who are nourished by them. One woman was homeless once herself. She received help, and now she wants to give back. She is joined by retired teachers and mill workers.

Several of these volunteers will be retiring at the end of the year, creating the need for more people willing to step up and help out on a regular basis. Without their generosity, this valuable community outreach effort would not be possible.

To learn more about how to help, read the story on page A1 of today’s Post-Record.