This article originally appeared in the Desert Sun, February 2022.
Well in the Desert has been serving the Palm Springs area since 1996, providing nutritious meals to those experiencing food insecurity.
Well in the Desert’s food program serves anywhere between 180-300 hot meals daily with a goal of ensuring those at risk have the nutrition they need to stay healthy. Dine’ N Dash hot lunches are served at five different locations in the city of Palm Springs each weekday. The organization also distributes meals to campsites where people live and often won’t leave for fear of losing their space.
In addition, Well in the Desert sponsors a weekly Saturday food distribution program to supplement families with groceries. In order to qualify for these distributions, clients must have a residence with refrigeration and the ability to cook hot meals. They must present identification for all residents being served and meet financial eligibility.
“We have seen that people who have a couple of meals of healthy food a day thrive in ways they would not without them, and many better decisions are made by them because of not being hungry,” the organization’s President, Arlene Rosenthal said.
Well in the Desert also offers a wide array of services to assist those affected by poverty. This includes serving the working poor, seniors, veterans, and disabled individuals, as well as the homeless. The organization provides one-way tickets home, phone and mail service, notary services, resume writing assistance, and some transportation to medical and social service appointments. The organization strives to make all feel welcome and respected, Rosenthal said.
“No one wants to be treated poorly,” Rosenthal said. “If the Well were not to feed people, the numbers of people, and crime, would greatly increase.”
The organization has seen many success stories, including a homeless client who secured work and a place to live in Alaska. A past client who was an experienced cook now works cooking for the organization. To this day, he corresponds with other chefs online and “turns out meals that are amazingly delicious, and grins with pride at his accomplishment,” Rosenthal said
“People need to listen to others’ stories, need to realize it is really true, that ‘there, but for the grace of God, go I’ because strange things happen in life,” Rosenthal said. “Be kind and understanding of those who are decent law-abiding citizens of the same world we are all a part of.”
Recently, Well in the Desert received a grant from the Todd Barajas Legacy Fund through the Inland Empire Community Foundation. The organization depends on donations and grants to support its yearly budget of over $450,000. Those interested in supporting their work to help feed those in need can donate through Well in the Desert’s website.
Supporters can also attend the organization’s next fundraising event benefiting their work. Broadway Under the Stars will take place Sunday, April 24, 2022, at 6 PM at the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort in Indian Wells. The event is presented by Opera Arts and honors Ruth Moir, founder and CEO of the Steinway Society. Tickets are $175 per person.
Well in the Desert also welcomes in-kind donations of hygiene products and clothes. A wish list of clients’ most immediate needs can be found on their website. Those interested in volunteering for the organization can also visit their website or call for more information.
“Everyone is invited to come to one of our meals, to truly see the people down on their luck, addicted, alcoholic, to see the seniors, the children, and all the wonderful people we serve,” Rosenthal said. “It all means so much for those homeless to be seen.”
More information: https://www.wellinthedesert.org/, (760) 285-7297 or (760) 656-8905
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