Miriam’s Kitchen Celebrates 30 Years of Guiding People Home
Organization Enlists Community Support in Mission to End Chronic Homelessness in D.C.
October 2, 2013 – Washington, D.C. – Miriam’s Kitchen today announced its 30th year of service in the District of Columbia.
Initially founded in collaboration between members of Western Presbyterian Church, George Washington University B’nai Brith, and the United Church, Miriam’s Kitchen served its first breakfast service on October 6, 1983. A simple menu of eggs, grits, toast, juice and coffee was served to a community of 45 homeless individuals that morning.
Thirty years later, Miriam’s Kitchen has evolved into a growing, independent organization with a much larger mission: to end chronic homelessness in D.C. Through an approach that honors the dignity of their guests and creates a community of belonging, Miriam’s Kitchen’s high-quality meals, case management and advocacy programs are all designed to create true change for people experiencing homelessness – individually and within D.C.’s social services system.
“Our guests are at the center of all that we do,” said Scott Schenkelberg, President and CEO of Miriam’s Kitchen, who joined the organization in 2002. “MK has seen incredible growth the past 30 years, and we’ve made serious efforts to provide more sophisticated meals, case management and advocacy programs. And that is all for one single purpose: to help guide our guests home.”
To kick off their 30th anniversary, Miriam’s Kitchen has created a petition to enlist broader community support and encourage the public to pledge to help end chronic homelessness in D.C.
“Ending chronic homelessness sounds impossible, but we know it’s not,” Schenkelberg said. “Over the past 30 years we’ve learned that homelessness is a community crisis, and it requires a community response. We all have a role to play, even if it may not be obvious, so we encourage the D.C. community to pledge their support in the effort.”
The petition can be found at https://www.change.org/petitions/pledge-to-end-chronic-homelessness-in-washington-d-c-2
Additionally, Miriam’s Kitchen will be celebrating this milestone of service with a series of events the month of October:
- On October 3, MK will host a public forum on Housing First, a proven and cost- effective best practice for getting chronically homeless individuals into housing. MK will be joined by Linda Kaufman, National Field Organizer for the 100,000 Homes Campaign, as well as current and formerly homeless individuals who can speak to their needs for housing.
- On October 8, MK joins Studio 102 at George Washington University to present“MK Studio: Dignity – Belonging – Change”, a free salon-style exhibition and discussion, featuring work created by current and formerly homeless artists who have participated in MK Studio, Miriam’s Kitchen’s art therapy program.
- On October 10th, MK is honored to receive the Street Sense Founder’s Award at the Street Sense 10th Anniversary Gala, in recognition of its advocacy efforts on behalf of individuals experiencing homelessness
- On October 22nd, MK will join other area organizations nominated for the Mayor’s Arts Awards. MK Studio, Miriam’s Kitchen’s Art Therapy program, is nominated under the category of “Innovation in the Arts.”
- On October 23rd, Chef John Murphy, MK’s Director of Kitchen Operations, will moderate a Food Day Public Forum at the Foggy Bottom Farmers Market. John will be joined by local food experts, including Chef Todd Grey, owner of Equinox restaurant and culinary director of Market Salamander; Michael James of Blueberry Hill Farm; Ann Yonkers, co-founder FRESHFARM Markets; and Gus Schumacher, former Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services at USDA; to discuss the connection between food, community and culture.
“Together, these events showcase the dynamic efforts MK makes each day in our mission to end chronic homelessness,” Schenkelberg said. “We believe that fresh foods, innovative case management and proven advocacy are more than direct services or programs. They are the underpinnings of an approach that is always rooted in dignity and belonging, and geared towards creating change.”
About Miriam’s Kitchen
Celebrating 30 years of service, Miriam’s Kitchen is committed to ending chronic homelessness in Washington, D.C. by creating meaningful connections with displaced individuals, connecting them with permanent housing, and ensuring they have the necessary support to remain in housing. Miriam’s Kitchen advocates for permanent supportive housing as a long-term solution, while meeting short-term needs by providing healthy meals and high-quality social services to more than 5,000 homeless individuals each year. Through dignity, belonging and change, Miriam’s Kitchen is guiding people home. www.MiriamsKitchen.org
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