Kind Kitchen volunteers deliver meals to recipients.
From left to right: Juliana Gendelman, Addie Zubatin, Nori Brown.
Photo courtesy of Kind Kitchen
The Kind Kitchen is a nonprofit organization specializing in cooking and delivering free meals to those in need.
The director of the Kind Kitchen, Chani Ezagui, has watched the organization blossom into a necessary service for the community since it was established in 1987.
“About 10 years ago we were serving 100 meals a month… Right now we’re at 2,100 meals a month,” Ezagui said.
The Kind Kitchen offers assistance to anyone in the community who is having a hard time obtaining fresh meals. Examples include a person grieving, a person helping a loved one through any type of treatment, someone recovering from illness or surgery, a family member of someone in the hospital, a veteran, a new mother, a single mom struggling to make ends meet, the elderly, the homebound, a Holocaust survivor — truly anyone struggling to gather the next meal.
Ezagui said that the Kind Kitchen does not deny anyone.
“Some people are spending the whole week in the hospital because, let’s say, there’s someone that is going through chemo,” Ezagui said. “One day they go for chemo. The next day their blood count is down. The next day they need infusions. They have spent several days away from home. So, when they finally come home, they find a freshly cooked meal.”
One of the Kind Kitchen’s recipients is the family of a young boy who is fighting cancer. He was 2 when he was diagnosed. The mother, Amber Nagele, said her motivation to cook was low when she was putting all her energy into supporting her son in his battle against cancer.
“It’s been very amazing to receive meals just to take off some of the pressure of the week by making sure my family is fed,” Nagele said.
The Kind Kitchen relies on volunteers to prep, package and deliver fresh meals. The menus change weekly and use top-of-the-line meats, vegetables, poultry and fish. The food is packaged in signature containers, complete with an uplifting note from the meal preparers.
One recent menu included fish, freshly baked muffins, grilled chicken, salad, fresh vegetables, dressing, greens, baked sweet potatoes, fresh fruit and bread.
The meals are delivered once a week to the doors of those in need. The food usually lasts three to four days.
Ezagui said many of the kitchen’s volunteers are past meal recipients.
“Some of them are in remission. Some of the people are still going through chemo, but they want to be part of it,” Ezagui said. “We have people that lost a loved one, and, after many years, they’re alone. They’re here, and they made new friends. This work can be therapeutic on many levels. It’s an unbelievable thing.”
The Kind Kitchen plans to expand to make enough meals to last recipients a full week. The 2022 goal is to feed 25,000 people. To back this campaign, supporters can donate to the Kind Kitchen in honor of a loved one. The money will go toward the expansion of the kitchen and new appliances, among other uses.
Ezagui’s goals include providing more meals for current recipients and reaching more people who need assistance. She said she is proud of the relationships she has nurtured through the organization.
“The more people that know about us, the more people we help,” Ezagui said. “Kindness is contagious.”