This Sunday, we’re launching a special offering for our Community Kitchen Project. I’m excited about this opportunity to build relationships and to serve our community.
Food is a powerful theme in Scripture. Tim Chester writes that Jesus’ “mission strategy was a long meal, stretching into the evening. He did evangelism and discipleship round a table with some grilled fish, a loaf of bread, and a pitcher of wine.”
When we moved to Liberty Village, we realized that food is a great way to connect with people. Just as Jesus enjoyed conversations with people over good food, we wanted to build friendships as we ate and drank together.
When we first moved in, I used to go to SupperWorks. “We’ve revolutionized home-cooking with bulk, on-site meal assembly. We create delicious monthly recipes, do the shopping, the washing, the chopping and the clean-up! Our kitchens are fully stocked with premium-quality, restaurant-grade meats and produce.” I enjoyed the experience. It only took an hour or so to prepare twelve meals, and I was usually offered a glass of wine to enjoy as I did so. I would talk to the staff and other customers.
My wife, Charlene, wondered if we could create the same kind of meal preparation space in Liberty Village. Since many value good food and community, but don’t cook at home, they may enjoy getting together and preparing a series of meals while socializing. Because we see hospitality as a major form of ministry in our community, it fits with our approach as a church.
We want to create a community kitchen to provide space for people to make food in community. The community kitchen would be run at cost and be modeled after food preparation services like Blue Apron or Dream Dinners, featuring healthy, easy-to-assemble dinners. The primary purpose is to build community around food for the many people to whom dinner is a solitary event.
The kitchen would be located in the space we rent as a church. This would allow us to store our equipment easily, and to utilize space that’s otherwise unused throughout the week. It would also allow people to become more familiar with our church. We would run the kitchen on a weeknight from 7 to 9 and a Saturday afternoon at the beginning to gauge which time works best. We would run the community kitchen twice a month with volunteers. We would aim to secure permanent space, to launch slowly, and to build the kitchen over time. We would evaluate the kitchen by the number of new, ongoing relationships that we (members of our church) make in the community. The initial times would be a pilot project as we try to learn from our community which time is most effective.
We would invite volunteers to help prep food ahead of time. People could sign up to come in and prepare meals, and to choose which meals they wanted to prepare. When they arrive, they would be given a name tag and the list of meals they had chosen. They would move from station to station preparing meals while talking to others from the from the immediate neighborhood and even their own building. We would always have 2-3 people from the church present to intentionally build relationships and to assist where needed. After the meals are prepared, people could choose to sit and visit over coffee and snacks before going home.
How You Can Help
A Foundation has agreed to match funds we raise. Our target is $7,500. This will cover the costs of three commercial food preparation stations, a commercial fridge, sinks, and kitchen equipment.
Please consider giving, as you’re able, above your regular gifts to our offerings. Mark your donation “Community Kitchen Project.”
Please let me know if you have any questions, and pray for this initiative.
Watch the video below for a brief introduction to this project.