The Community Kitchen Incorporated offers more services than initially meet the eye. While the primary role of the Community Kitchen Incorporated is to “Remove Hunger As a Barrier,” through its meal services, CKI offers other programs as well such as referrals to other social services in town, as well as a bus pass program.
Business leaders and the Parish Priest of Holy Rosary-St. John parish founded Community Kitchen, Inc. in 1979. In 1985, a separate Board of Directors was formed and incorporated the agency as a private non-profit organization. Throughout our history, other vital services have been added to the primary mission of feeding people. A Women’s group has grown into the Family Resource Center where comprehensive information and referral services are made available. The priority referrals requested by clients are assistance with material and safety needs such as rent, utilities, food, transportation and health care. A clothing room was added to provide serviceable clothing for all ages, as well as, small household items. A bus pass program has been instituted to help clients with transportation for new employment and medical appointments.
Community Kitchen, Inc. believes strongly in the importance of providing services with a “no questions asked” policy. There is evidence that this policy helps to maintain a level of dignity necessary to work through the health or economic issues underlying the hunger. While maintaining a “no questions asked” policy for persons in need of a meal, the agency has grown in its success to bring about long-term results among the diners. Many are able to regain employment, obtain stable housing and often continue their relationship with us as volunteers assisting others.
The Community Kitchen, Inc. primarily serves economically disadvantaged persons living on the southeast side of Columbus. Clients come mostly from residential neighborhoods bordered by Broad Street to the north, Parsons Avenue to the west, Alum Creek Drive to the east, and Whittier Street to the south. However, clients may come from anywhere to the Community Kitchen for services. Diners at the Agency represent a broad range of demographics and specific needs. Our immediate zip code (43205) has a poverty rate of 39.3%, an unemployment rate of 13.9%, and has an average household income of $7,239 per year. Approximately 15% of the population in this area are senior citizens, 30% are single parent household with an average family size of three.
We know that many of our diners rely on us for the majority of their food needs. St. Agatha’s church helps us ensure that families have food even when we are not open. Their “sandwich maker” team has been making thousands of sandwiches for us over many years.