Thursday, December 23, 2010

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Be sure to visit the Kitchen's facebook page to learn more about our daily activities.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A visit from an old friend....

Chattanooga may just be the biggest small town in Tennessee. If you grew up in this area, you know that you can’t go anywhere without seeing someone you went to school with, attended church with or worked with at some point.

Recently, one of our case managers unexpectedly ran into an old friend from high school. They shared stories, laughed at childhood memories and caught up on life…like friends do. Then, they had to get down to business. The case manager’s friend had come by for a reason – he was homeless and had come to the Kitchen to receive services.

As the case manager shared this story, a silence fell over our break room. You could tell the case manger was contemplating what had just happened. The job is difficult enough just being faced with the needs of so many daily; when it is someone you know personally, the reality of your job really hits home.

The case manger told us it was good to see his friend. He enjoyed reminiscing about the ‘good old days’ but was shocked by the present. But, he was also glad to be able to offer a helping hand and a caring heart…after all, that’s what friends are for!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Alonzo Project…

In our last newsletter, we discussed our recycling program extensively. Apparently the discussion was overdue. We had a flood of calls. One came from a local church that had decided to take recycling on as a group to help the environment while supporting the Kitchen. The church was inspired by a member named Wally who had met and befriended a homeless man named Alonzo in January of 2010.

Wally owns a business in Chattanooga and met Alonzo one day behind his store. Alonzo was cold and a little suspicious. But, over time, Alonzo began to trust Wally. Wally would bring him gloves, food and try to help meet some of his needs every day. After a little while, the other businesses around also began to care for Alonzo. Wally knew he had made great progress when Alonzo actually accepted a ride from him one day. Wally presented his pastor with some ways to get involved in the homeless community and at that point, the church decided to name their homeless ministry The Alonzo Project.

Since then, the church has donated stuffed backpacks with much needed supplies for clients at the Kitchen. They are also beginning the recycling project.

All of this from one person with a heart for someone in need and one homeless man willing to trust…we aren’t sure where Alonzo is today; but, for Wally, Alonzo will always be close to his heart.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A name with a face…

Do you ever see someone you recognize but not remember their name? Perhaps you think for a minute, pondering where you know that person from, wondering if they remember you. Here at the Kitchen, we see a lot of faces - it can be hard to link a name to each face.

Recently, one of the coordinators for St. Catherine’s Women’s Shelter was training a new volunteer to be an overnight host. Somehow she knew the volunteer’s face. She couldn’t place it, but she recognized her.

The next night, the same volunteer came to stay. The coordinator again met her at the shelter and suddenly realized where she’d seen the face before. The previous fall the volunteer had been in a job-readiness class in the Day Center – she had been a client, one of the many faces. Now a volunteer, she was giving back.

Her story serves as a reminder that, homeless or not, every face has a name, a story and a heart.