Loaves and Fishes of Tompkins County (DBA: Loaves & Fishes) 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
A single pot of soup to serve committee members became the first Loaves &
Fishes community meal in 1983.
When founder, Rev. Kathy Eickwort, made her pot of soup on July 26,
intending to share it with the members of the committee that had been formed
to begin their ministry of “hospitality and advocacy”, she had no idea that
they would share their meal with three hungry and homeless people who turned
up at the door of St. John’s Episcopal Church. Taking this as a sign to
begin serving daily meals, Loaves & Fishes began quietly with three guests,
then five and within the first week more than 20 people joined in the meal.
In the first week, many food donations arrived – all given by local
businesses and vendors who were aware of the mission. There were no public
appeals, no notices given but the Ithaca community immediately began
providing food to the kitchen. As the number of guests grew, pans of lasagna
appeared from local restaurants, fresh fruit and breads came from vendors
and bakeries ... the generosity of Ithaca was abundant. Financial support
was given, volunteers came and everything began to fall into place. Over the
decades community support and involvement has grown and flourished.
The name “Loaves and Fishes” is truly reflective of the workings and mission
of this organization. Many are fed and comforted by the small and seemingly
insignificant gifts that are given. Its daily needs are filled and at times
it seems like a miracle. Loaves & Fishes is a “community kitchen” devoted to
nurturing a community of people who care for and serve one another.
Activities of all sorts are centered around the sharing of a nutritious
meal each weekday. Its doors are open to all who come.
The name Loaves and Fishes comes from the Christian bible
where Jesus feeds a multitude with a few fish and some bread.
See Mark 6: 30-44; Matthew 15: 32-38.
The work of this ministry is also inspired by the bible verses in
”The King will say, Come and inherit the kingdom…for I
was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you
gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me…truly, I say to you, as you did unto the least of my brethren,
you did unto me.”
Since it began in1983, this ministry has been graciously housed in St.
John’s Episcopal Church in the center of downtown Ithaca NY.
Loaves and Fishes of Tompkins County Inc. is a not for profit 501(c)(3)
organization with no outside affiliations, and is governed by a Board of
Loaves & Fishes is a member agency of the Food Bank of the Southern Tier
Loaves & Fishes is a living wage employer