Feeding the homeless with dignity.

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Meals for the needy... with style
By Michelle Robertson
At the Kansas City (US) Community Kitchen, the diners are welcomed at the entrance and led to a table where their orders are taken by the staff. This would be the normal procedure at any regular restaurant, but in this case it’s the needy and homeless who are being given the opportunity to dine with a certain level of respect and grace. The traditional waiting in line with a tray associated with such places has been replaced by the feeling of a contemporary restaurant – a place where people can raise their heads high and enjoy the experience of ‘dining out’.    

This new style of providing for those who need it most is the result of a team effort by a local non-profit organization together with the support of the local food bank, corporate partners, restaurants, grocery stores, and bakeries. The Community Kitchen’s president, Beau Heyen, describes their inspiration for the changes this way: “It was really about bringing dignity and respect to the way we serve. Instead of people standing in lines, we thought of other ways for them to be seated.” He added that the variety of food supplied now allows them to offer the people a degree of choice. Up to 300 people are served every day from Monday to Friday and the response has been “fantastic”. The scheme will soon be copied in other locations in and around Kansas City, and could serve as a model for how to serve the needy with dignity.

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