Our History

The Foundation Dinners was started in 1990 as the vision of Ed and Carol Clum. Gary, Ed's son, felt compelled by Jesus' Parable of the Feast (Luke 14:16-24) to have a banquet for needy people in Lancaster. After the banquet and mission trips to Brazil and Guatemala, Ed and Carol felt the Lord leading them to help vulnerable people in Lancaster. They decided to use a building Ed owned on Fifth Avenue and started inviting people off the street for a meal on a weekly basis. Before long Ed and Carol saw the need to feed people daily. The Hustler family was instrumental in helping in those early days and have faithfully continued to serve every month. Area churches became involved and The Foundation Dinners grew rapidly.


Ed Clum based the name of the dinners on the foundation of the Bible and has dedicated his life to responding to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He says, "Jesus calls upon each follower to respond to the needs of the downcast with a merciful heart, supplying not only words, but also and most importantly, deeds."  Read Matthew 25:31-46 and know that when you serve the least of these you are serving Jesus.


In 1995 The Foundation Shelters, our sister organization, was opened. With added responsibilities Ed began to feel the need to hand off the leadership of the Dinners program. With a heart for the needy, Gary Clum stepped up to take over in 2006. Under Gary's direction, the Dinners program has continued to grow. Thanks to the support of the community, in 2011 a new 900 sq ft kitchen was added and accommodation for more seating in the dinning room.


The dinners enlists the aid of over 200 volunteers each month. Coming from local churches, organizations, and businesses, these volunteers help poverty-stricken families and individuals in Fairfield County. Volunteers also become part of the broadcast system which informs the community of the presence of hunger and homelessness in our midst.


All of the operating funds for the dinner program are derived locally from the generous contributions of churches, individuals, and businesses. The food is donated to us on a regular basis by Kroger, Mid-Ohio Foodbank, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Panera, Walmart and Pizza Hut. Many individuals and restaurants are also sources that donate on a non-regular basis. The operating expenses include all of the occupancy costs, miscellaneous kitchen supplies, maintenance, kitchen tools, and part-time employee wages. We are a non-profit, tax-deductible 501(c)(3) organization.


Much of the work at The Foundation Dinners is done by volunteers. Interested, responsible, compassionate and caring men, women and children donate their time. Some volunteer once a month and some twice or more, filling our calendar each and every month. They serve and reach out to touch those who many consider to be untouchable. The basic financial needs of these disadvantaged families and individuals are being relieved as many caring people come to serve these meals.


The program continually seeks the interest of even more local volunteers to serve.



Foundation Dinners  I  1000 W. Fifth Avenue  I  Lancaster, Ohio 43130  I  PHONE  740.653.3233