Food Service at the HUM

A wise person once said, “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”  We know that is true.  In fact, you could make the case that Jesus understood and practiced that concept when he feed both 5,000 (Mt 14:15-21 – the only miracle Jesus performed that is recorded in all 4 Gospels) and 4,000 (Mt 15:32-38).  This became an entrée (pardon the pun) to their hearing the Good News.

Here at Helping Up Mission, a typical night will have up to 400 men in residence.  While our overnight guests are here for just dinner and breakfast and other guys are off at work for one or two meals a day, there is a lot of food that gets served here on any given day.

All this activity is led by Luke McKusker, who has been heading up our food service department since 2003.  Working as Luke’s assistant, after graduation from our Spiritual Recovery Program in 2009, is Jeff Wingfield.  Together, along with the leadership of Graduate Intern David Rogers, they oversee a team of 50 men in the food service department.  As a group these guys not only serve 3 meals a day, 365 days a year for our crowd, they also have a constant stream of special events on our campus that calls on our kitchen to constantly be creative.  It is an impressive demonstration of time and energy on the part of the whole department.

Beyond all this service to others, Luke and Jeff have developed a food preparation and service training program for members of their department who want to take their skills to the next level.  This year, 40 men enrolled in their Food Production Courses with 18 men earning certificates of completion.  From this group, 3 became Kitchen Interns and one (David Rogers) became a certified Food Service Manager for Baltimore City. 

In addition, this year, 7 members of our kitchen staff completed the ServSafe Food Protection Manager course, with 4 received their national certification (the first Helping Up Mission program member to do so 2 years ago was Jeff Wingfield). As of this writing, three additional men are in the final weeks of the brand new 14-week Foodworks training program inaugurating  the Maryland Food Bank’s new state-of-the-art training kitchen. You can actually see what this program is about and view a short interview with Donnell, one of our guys, on the following news clip from WBAL TV-11 (

Thanks, Luke and company, for a job well done.  Now, what’s for dinner?

One Day at a Time,
Pastor Gary Byers
Spiritual Life Director