Each day we serve about 250 people in our kitchens. Each person has a unique story and it is these stories that assure us that a warm meal on the table helps to fill gaps in peoples lives. Some stories are heart -wrenching and others triumphant. Below are a few stories of some of the many people who touched our hearts.
Johnny – A working family man
One Tuesday at the St. Andrew’s Kitchen I was sitting across from a young man in his 20’s. He had a hard hat sitting beside his plate and you could tell he had been outside, working hard. Johnny ask me what I did and I said that I worked for Community Kitchens. He sat quietly, eating his ham and beans, for a few minutes. He then looked at me and said, “I want to thank you for providing this meal”. I assured him that I was glad he joined us and welcomed him back. He said that he and some of his coworkers had been coming to eat here for several weeks. He went on to explain that he and the other men were currently working as a temporary employee for a construction job near UAB. He went on to explain that he was thankful to have a job, but that he made just over minimum wage, had no benefits and will only have this job on a temporary basis. In the beginning he said they ate at McDonalds or another fast-food place, but it cost them over 1 hours wage to eat! He said that for him this was really a problem. Johnny explained that he was saving everything he could so that he could move his family from the western part of town to a safer place. He said that Community Kitchens was helping him to save about $30 a week that he could put toward a rental house in a better neighborhood.
William – Unemployed veteran
“Life gets hard and it beats me down sometimes. Having a good meal each day helps me when I can’t find work.”
Brenda -Previously Homeless
On Thanksgiving Day Community Kitchens serves a special holiday meal. With the help of many dedicated volunteers those we serve have a Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings! After people were served their holiday meal, I went around and wished each table of our guest “Happy Thanksgiving” . I came to a table where a charming young woman sat eating with an older gentleman. She said that the gentleman at the table was her new neighbor and that he told her about the Thanksgiving meal with Community Kitchens. I told her she was welcome to join us for lunch any day and that our doors are open to anyone. She ask if you had to receive a referral from another agency or show proof of income. I assured her that anyone in need was welcome. Brenda then began explaining how she had been in a “bad situation”and had just moved out of a shelter and into an apartment. She has a job working part time at a local convenience store and was worried that this would disqualify her from our meals. I assured Brenda that she would be welcomed at Community Kitchens. I ask her if groceries were a problems as well and she said yes. I explained to Brenda that she could get groceries on Tuesday mornings at Grace Episcopal. Brenda said she was very thankful that she decided to come for Thanksgiving lunch because we had helped her to find ways to stay living in her apartment.
Josietta – Working mother of three
“My kids and me eat here at the end of the month because my food stamps just don’t last that long.”