At the Kansas City Community Kitchen, patrons are served healthy, restaurant-quality fare and treated with the respect they deserve.
Everyone deserves respect, regardless of how much money they make or where they sleep at night.
Unfortunately, many in society have been conditioned to view homeless individuals with less regard. This is not only harmful because of the mentality it inspires, but because it can contribute to feelings of hopelessness in those who are down on their luck.
The stigma surrounding homelessness and asking for a handout needs to change, which is why an innovative soup kitchen in Kansas City has adopted a new “dining with dignity” format.
The Kansas City Community Kitchen, reports The Kansas City Star, invites all of the city’s homeless to dine on a fine meal and treats them with the respect they deserve.
Hungry patrons can show up to the establishment and are seated at a table by a greeter. Then, a staff member takes their custom order and brings a healthy meal based upon the day’s offerings.
The treatment often catches the homeless off-guard.
Said Brian Oglesby, a first-time patron of the revamped soup kitchen:
“It’s different. They’re treating me good, like they don’t know I’m homeless.”
The kitchen serves healthy fare based on the ingredients they have for the day. In addition, every plate is mastered to look like something from an upscale restaurant.
Plates can be adapted to meet health, dietary, or religious requirements. Many of the selections are low in sodium and high in nutrition – an effort to reduce the cases of hypertension, diabetes, and expensive hospital visits for the homeless.
The good news doesn’t end there: The staff is also passionate about helping the homeless find jobs.
A six-month training program is offered to volunteers, courtesy of Episcopal Community Services, which runs the soup kitchen. The final two months of the program, participants can work in restaurants as interns – with requirements that they receive a minimum wage of $13 an hour.
In addition to serving up healthy, compassionately-made food, then, the soup kitchen is also helping people get their lives back on track.
This model is already in practice by Masbia, a three-kitchen network located in New York City. The name means “to satiate” in Hebrew, and that’s exactly what the soup kitchen does. It serves healthy kosher food to the poor and runs exactly like a cafe to ensure patrons are treated with the dignity they deserve. Of course, no payment is expected, either.
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