Community is a term we use to speak about groups of people who share common location, interests, values, risks, intents and the like. Elijah’s Promise soup kitchen has been serving our community for nearly twenty five years. We are a community of people who believe that no one should go hungry. We have shared that value and belief through our shared energies, and volunteer time, our donations of food and supplies and our voices raised with legislators and policy makers to end hunger.
Over these years and through our building of community through shared energies and vision to end hunger, we have also created a place where people have connected and found not only food, but support, services and social connection. Elijah’s Promise really is a community soup kitchen.
This past June, the Liquid Church gave us the gift of a much needed face lift in the soup kitchen dining room. They painted and repaired walls, installed new lighting, brought new tables and chairs and original art work on our walls have helped to visually represent the beauty of what happens each day as people lovingly cook, serve and share their gifts and vision for a world without hunger. Thanks to their contribution, our dining room now looks like a fancy restaurant! This “extreme makeover” is part of a larger design and conversation that has been going on for the past couple of years about how we can serve our community in a more dignified way, including expanded hours of service, varied menu choices, and other changes that will encourage our patrons to participate and feel ownership of this community kitchen.
Right after the renovation in June, Chef Pam, our fearless kitchen Manager, began opening the doors to the dining room well before the lunch service at 11am. With music playing and coffee and beverages served, patrons began filing in first thing in the morning to sit and relax. For some of our local homeless, this has been a blessing. ”Joe”, one of the regulars, who was homeless, came every morning to just get off the streets. He began volunteering too. He has since found a place to live, and thanks to open doors at the soup kitchen, he has developed connections with staff and volunteers and feels at home at the soup kitchen as well. This is what makes us a community soup kitchen.
In the next couple of weeks, we will make the final transition in our shift to a more open model of serving meals. Instead of serving lunch in an hour and dinner in an hour, scurrying 150 people in and out, we will be open and serving continuously from 11am to 7pm Monday-Friday and open from 1-4pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Patrons can come and go as they need or want. Entrees will still be served around the traditional lunch and dinner hours, but soup, sandwiches and salad bar will be served continuously all day. Patrons will come to the counter to select what they’d like from our menu of offerings. They can come in early or stick around after their meal if they need a place to stay. And we hope they will.
In fact, we hope others will come and meet and dine in our space…all are welcome in our community kitchen.
We have made every effort to make this transition with little disruption to our beloved volunteers, who make Elijah’s Promise possible. We know there will be some bumps along the way, but we are certain that these are steps in the direction of furthering all of our efforts to build a community soup kitchen where we can see more clearly realized the vision of a world where no one goes hungry. Thanks for being a part of this community and Elijah’s Promise soup kitchen!