Donor update on the improvements made to St. Vincent de Paul’s Open Hand Kitchen.
Everyone should have three meals a day, but the resources are not always there. That’s starting to change at St. Vincent de Paul’s Open Hand Kitchen. Recently, we started serving breakfast to the men staying at Ozanam Inn Men’s Shelter. Many of the men leave the shelter in the morning and go to jobs, so having breakfast is a great way to start the day.
Breakfast service started as weekdays only, but after a few weeks, expanded to include weekends. “Talking to the kitchen staff, the guys seem very happy we’re offering breakfast, especially when they can get seconds in the morning. They were excited they didn’t have to go to work on an empty stomach or go spend money to get breakfast,” said Cassidy Longton, Ozanam Inn Program Manager. “It really has been wonderful, and we thank the kitchen staff that come in early to make that for them. They have even provided sandwiches for guys to take with them if they cannot make it to breakfast. It really has been a blessing for our guys.”
Donations for breakfast come from Dare to Care and others, but more are welcome. Hot cereal, oatmeal, eggs, bacon, sausage, donuts and pastries, milk and juices would be welcome donations to maintain the momentum of the breakfast program.
Thanks to a grant from Lift A Life Foundation, the Open Hand Kitchen has added a security system, new tables, chairs, booster seats, high chairs, a new exterior sign, and digital signs in the dining hall.
Out are the folding tables and in are the family-style four-top tables. With the new booster seats and high chairs, the atmosphere is friendlier and more welcoming to families with children.
Visitors and volunteers alike are welcomed by a new exterior sign facing south on Jackson Street. The sign offers much-needed street visibility to the Open Hand Kitchen.
Inside, diners are welcomed by two digital signs that display the week’s menus, operating hours, and important event announcements. During the winter months, we’ll be able to alert visitors to inclement weather and announce Operation White Flag nights. To conserve electricity, the signs turn on and off automatically before and after meal times.
These much-needed improvements and additions will ensure the Open Hand Kitchen continues to adapt to serve those in need and this community.