For this episode of Community Conversations, we followed up with The Good News Community Kitchen Executive Director Mercedes Kirkland-Doyle about the work the organization is doing in the community.
Q: Why don’t you give us a brief little overview of what The Good News Community Kitchen does?
A: Well our mission is to rebuild and strengthen communities by fighting hunger, one meal at a time. We’ve pretty much created four tier programs – Mobile Meals, Hygiene Heroes, Trends to Transition, and Warm Winters. With those programs – it allows us to tackle critical areas within our community such as the underserved population – food, clothing, as well as workforce development.
Q: How is work going in your organization this year?
A: Work is great, we are extremely busy. Our staff and our volunteer team network is growing. We completed our first annual charity gala back in February, and we’ve actually also signed two community partnerships with Neabsco Elementary School and Featherstone Elementary.
Q: And you have some events coming up. Why don’t you tell me about those? You have two.
A: We’re actively involved in our Meals-To-Go kits, which is a program…where we specifically create packages for children who’ve identified as not having a guaranteed meal outside of school hours. It consists of a box of flavored oatmeal, two cans of Chef Boyardee, two cans of vegetable soup, a box of Saltine crackers, and a can or container of creamy peanut butter. These meals can be interchangeable, the only additive that’s needed is water and depending on the family size, it can last throughout the week or the weekend.
We also have out Fit to Fight Hunger 5K and that’s gonna be May…27, 2017 at the Woodbridge Senior High School. We’re partnering with their Junior ROTC Department. This event is actually gonna help us fund our Mobile Meals program, which provides the resources we need to put meals into the community. We go out and feed the unsheltered homeless, we provide emergency meal units to families participating in the Department of Family Services, as well as the Meals-To-Go kits for the school-aged children.
Q: Within the past year or so, with the program that you started and some of the new ones that you’re taking on, what have you seen is an increasing need in our community?
A: I would have to say it would be the togetherness and education part of it, because I think we focus on what we see – such as the unsheltered homelessness, but we don’t really maybe hone in on the underserved population – the children who are going to school without socks, undergarments, coats or adequate clothing, or have adequate nutritional meals to be productive in school. So those would have to stick out for me.
Check back for the next episode of Community Conversations.