It’s been seven years since the Pacific Hermitage monks began walking daily alms rounds to receive food offerings (meal dana) for their daily meal. Thank you for supporting the monks for all these years.
There are many ways to support the Hermitage, but offering food is in a category of its own. This kind of support is needed every day. It’s an especially heart-opening and personal way to support the monks, and a wonderful opportunity to get to know them, ask Dhamma questions or seek their counsel in a more personal and less formal setting.
Contact the meal dana coordinator (me!) for more information. My email address is below.
It takes at least one person … every day
Meals aren’t just somehow “all taken care of.” It takes at least one person like you and me to make the effort every day to hand food to the monks. Over the last year and a half, about two-thirds of the monks’ meals came from people giving food to them as they walked alms rounds. The other one-third came from meals brought to the Hermitage. The monks rely primarily on alms food for their weekday meals and meal offerings at the Hermitage on weekends.
Meal Dana 2017: The first five months
Looking back at the calendar and other records, here are some answers to the question “Who is making sure the monks are being fed each day?” These figures are for the first five months of 2017.
Twelve White Salmon (or nearby) residents have so far provided enough alms food for 100 meals. In fact, the same 12 families have been providing alms food offerings, Monday – Friday, for nearly seven years. The monks rely on this food for their weekday meals. (Weekend alms food supplements the meals brought to the Hermitage.) Of those 12 families:
- 4 offer 3 times a week (over 60 days so far)
- 1 offers twice a week (over 45 days so far)
- 7 offer once a week (over 20 days so far)
Some of these folks drive to meet the monks. Others arrange for the monks stop by their home or office, and one regularly brings their offering to the Hermitage. At times, they order food at one of the local restaurants and arrange for the monks to pick it up. There are several options. Please contact me if you’d like to explore some.
Meals offered at the Hermitage
On Saturdays and Sundays, the monks rely on meal offerings brought to the Hermitage. Thirty-eight people have brought 51 meals to the Hermitage so far. Rescue Squad volunteers brought five of those meals on short notice, because no one scheduled ahead to bring one. Of the 38 who offered meals:
- 22 offered once
- 15 offered two to seven times
- 1 offered eight times
These folks came from the Portland/Vancouver area (59%), the Gorge (27%), and other areas of the Pacific NW (15%)
What’s needed now?
More people participating in alms round offerings
As you saw above, some people regularly offer alms food one, two or three times each week. Twelve people … 2/3 of the monks’ meals … for much of the last seven years. While that’s pretty amazing and currently provides sufficient food, heaven help us if someone moves or needs to cut back. It would be very helpful to have more people offering alms, to more widely distribute what’s needed from each family and to help cover an absence if someone goes on vacation or needs to cut back. Please contact me if you’re interested and we can explore options that might work for you. Here are the current alms routes.
More people proactively scheduling meal offerings
Some Saturdays and Sundays still remain blank on the Hermitage calendar, even two days before a meal is still needed. Please proactively check the Calendar to look for days with no meal offerings and also to make sure the monks won’t be away from the Hermitage. If you find a day that works for you, please contact me. If you don’t let me know you’re coming, I will probably make “emergency” arrangements to get a meal to the monks.
A big thanks!
Those who offer food experience the joy of generosity first hand, but let me thank you too. Meal dana is truly a special way of supporting the monks, one that offers the fairly rare opportunity to interact with monastics on a more personal basis. If that sounds appealing, even if it sounds a little intimidating, please email me and we can “talk.” No obligation and rest assured that I also experienced the jitters. Let’s discuss options and see if any work for you.
Email: Meal Dana Coordinator