Elijah’s Promise was established in 1989 when three local churches (St. John’s Episcopal, Emanuel Lutheran, and Christ Episcopal of New Brunswick) joined together to start a small soup kitchen. Although local congregations have continued to fill much of our volunteer base over the years, we receive great amounts of support and service from local student groups, community health organizations, local businesses and many others.
In 1997 Elijah’s Promise created a culinary arts training program called Promise Culinary School. We have taught a professional culinary curriculum to hundreds of students, preparing and placing them at jobs in the food service industry. In 2010 our culinary staff launched a Baking and Pastry program that trains students in the art of professional baking.
In order to provide on-the-job training for culinary graduates, Elijah’s Promise started a catering business in 1998. Our catering staff provides hundreds of healthy meals every day to children in New Brunswick and to our community’s elderly and homebound through New Brunswick’s Meals on Wheels program.
In 2009 Elijah’s Promise worked with Who Is My Neighbor? to create A Better World Cafe, based on a model pioneered by Denise Cerreta of One World Everybody Eats. The cafe has been successful in bringing delicious, sustainable food to our area while giving all people an equal opportunity to enjoy it.
The name Elijah’s Promise comes from a passage in the Hebrew Bible where the prophet Elijah is called by God to stay with a widow at Zarephath during a severe famine. Sojourning in a region far removed from his people in Israel, Elijah asks the widow for food and water. The widow replies by showing the prophet that she has enough food for only one final meal. After promising that she will never lack what she needs if she shares with him, the widow feeds Elijah. The result is that the widow’s jar of flour remains full even amidst a harsh famine.
Our philosophy is that by sharing not only what we have, but also the tools for people to feed themselves, no one in our community needs to go hungry.