Actively Hiring

Loaves and Fishes of Tompkins County

Ithaca, NY |

About Us

For 40 years, Loaves & Fishes’ Free Meal and Advocacy Programs have offered Tompkins County residents a welcoming community where guests can share a meal with others and, if needed, receive practical assistance and support. Loaves & Fishes provides nutritious free meals each weekday to all who come. Currently we are serving 300 meals each day, Monday – Friday. Additionally, emergency groceries, limited funds, bus passes, blankets, winter clothing, and personal care items are available to guests when needed. Social service agencies provide direct outreach to our guests during meal times including: Catholic Charities (SNAP and health insurance benefits), Lifelong (Medicare), Cornell University PATCH (Blood pressure screenings), Cayuga Addition Recovery Services, and REACH Medical. We rely on 100 community volunteers each week.

Loaves & Fishes is the only community kitchen in Tompkins County that is open five days each week including holidays. Our guests include people suffering from: poverty and hunger including those who are unhoused, under employed, on inadequate public assistance, marginalized in any way, dealing with mental and physical heath challenges, veterans, people in crisis, and anyone in need of companionship.

Loaves & Fishes provides a particularly effective environment to learn when people are in crisis or have unmet basic needs, such as lack of adequate housing or medical care. Most people when hungry will seek help in obtaining food, as it becomes a matter of survival. However, many people are less likely to ask for help if they have other, unmet, but often critical needs because they have no idea how to get these needs met or have given up the expectation that their life can be any different. Additionally, many of our guests have no family, friends or co-workers that can offer assistance to them during times of need. During meal times, our guests commonly reveal to other guests, staff and volunteers, in one way or another, that they need help. Then they are directed to a staff member who is equipped to assist our guests. The Advocacy Program provides information to our guests about existing social services and resources, actively links guests to these services when needed and, in general, provides on-going emotional and practical support to our guests during times of crisis or significant transitions.

Loaves & Fishes is an American Red Cross (ARC) of the Southern Tier designated emergency site for Tompkins County. Should the need arise, the ARC can request the use of the St. John’s facility for emergency sheltering or feeding of Tompkins County residents. For example, in the event of a community emergency, Loaves & Fishes will work with the ARC to provide 175 – 200 meals twice a day and/or open our facility to enable residents to cool down or warm up. Loaves & Fishes can also prepare and package meals the ARC will pick up and deliver to those in need throughout the county. Furthermore, due to our downtown location, during a state of emergency our site can provide support for essential Tompkins County government workers and first responders.

Loaves & Fishes of Tompkins County addresses the following community needs:

Food insecurity by: serving free hot nutritious meals each weekday; providing emergency food if needed (not a pantry); informing and referring individuals to other emergency food agencies.

Individual's lack of basic needs by: our Advocacy Program which entails making referrals and, occasionally, accompanying individuals to meetings with frontline agencies and speaking on their behalf if necessary; providing limited emergency funds, personal care items and winter clothing; bus passes, and facilitating outreach of local agencies during mealtimes.

Individual's social isolation by: nurturing a community of people (guests, volunteers, staff) who care for and respect each other; encouraging staff, volunteers and guests to eat together to overcome social isolation and barriers (class, race, ability); inviting guests to work alongside volunteers and staff during clean-up.

The need for volunteer, working and learning opportunities by: mentoring and supervising individuals in kitchen work and hospitality from other programs including, Unity House, civic groups, local businesses, schools, and people needing to complete community service hours for their schools or for the parole office.

The indifference to the needs of the poor and marginalized by: bringing an awareness of poverty and hunger in Tompkins County through the local media, public service announcements, and events.

Mission Statement

Loaves and Fishes of Tompkins County is a Christian ministry which provides a place for free meals, hospitality, companionship, and advocacy for those in need, regardless of their faith, beliefs, or circumstances. 




For 40 years, Loaves & Fishes’ Free Meal and Advocacy Programs have offered Tompkins County residents a welcoming community where guests can share a meal with others and, if needed, receive practical assistance and support. Loaves &…

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Location & Contact

Current listings by Loaves and Fishes of Tompkins County

JobsLocationDate Posted
Development & Community Relations ManagerIthaca, NYJuly 8, 2024
Deputy DirectorIthaca, NYJuly 8, 2024

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