The Kansas City Community Kitchen is changing the way soup kitchens serve food. The process includes greeters and servers just like a typical sit-down restaurant, which makes the homeless feel like part of the community.
“We are trying to flip the photo of what a soup kitchen looks like,” Mandy Caruso-Yahne, director of community engagement at Episcopal Community Services, which runs the kitchen, they said.
The Kansas City Community Kitchen has been serving the community for 30 years, but on Feb. 5, it re-opened with its new restaurant-style initiative that allows the homeless to “dine with dignity.”
“It’s different,” Brian Oglesby, a homeless man who dined at Kansas City Community Kitchen told The Kansas City Star. “They’re treating me good, like they don’t know I’m homeless.”
The menu was created by executive chef Michael Curry, the owner of the Kansas City restaurant, Lil’ Bubba, who once lived in poverty and ate at soup kitchens himself.
Curry cooks a healthy menu that incorporates fresh foods, and even takes suggestions from diners.
But the volunteers are the cornerstone. Without them, the restaurant-style soup kitchen would not be possible.
Volunteer Kenneth Cabean, who greets people at the door, says it’s about serving up a hearty dose of humanity.
“[The homeless] are used to standing in line for food, for a bed — they stand in line to get in the door,” he said. “See them smile today? This can change a man’s heart.”
Watch the video from The Kansas City Star below: