Miriam’s Kitchen Restaurant offers free breakfast and dinner every weekday | Update News


Meals at Miriam’s Kitchen have a familiar rhythm. There are more guests at dinner than at breakfast, generally fewer at the beginning of the month than at the end of the month. This is due to the special guests Miriam’s Kitchen serves: people experiencing homelessness in Washington, as well as people who have a place to live but cannot always afford to buy food.

“If someone has a good spot in the morning, especially when it’s raining, they don’t want to lose it,” he says Cheryl Bellchef at Miriam’s Kitchen.

If you’ve been sleeping in a park, on a bench, in a doorway – with all your stuff nearby – you might not want to wake up to get to 24th Street and Virginia Avenue NW at 7am for an hour-long breakfast at Miriam’s. Maybe you prefer to go hungry and wait for dinner to be offered from 4pm to 5pm

There are fewer visitors at the beginning of the month because that’s when people get their benefit checks, explains Bell. They can afford to buy their own food. These funds shrink every month.

“The last two weeks have been really hard,” says Bell.

On a recent Friday afternoon, he finds Bella in the kitchen on the lower level of the Western Presbyterian Church. It’s 3:30 p.m., half an hour before the doors open for guests who are already queuing on the sidewalk outside. The dinner menu is written on a chalkboard: a choice of chicken and coconut curry or vegetarian curry (cauliflower, spinach, peas, chickpeas), rice, cabbage, salad and apple sauce. Bell stirs the curry in a large pot while Ernst & Young volunteers chop the vegetables for the salad.

In the dining room, more volunteers from the consulting firm receive instructions from Rachel Glassmann, Director of Corporate Partnerships at Miriam’s Kitchen. Some Ernst & Young volunteers will hand out plastic cutlery, some will take orders for drinks (water, juice or coffee), others will stand behind a table covered with free gloves, socks, thermal underwear and personal hygiene kits (toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, deodorant, wipes).

There are also condoms and doses of Narcan, a nasal spray that treats an overdose. Guests can pick up their mail and charge their phones in the dining room.

At 4:00 p.m., Glassman says, “Let’s take up positions.”

The door opens and the guests begin to descend the stairs to the dining room, where 15 four-seat tables are arranged in three rows. Each guest has a numbered ticket, such as found in a deli.

Meg Dominguez, Deputy Director of Social Welfare, greets guests. “Good evening,” he says. “Welcome to Miriam’s kitchen. sit down.”

Cheryl comes out of the kitchen. “Good evening everyone,” he says before describing the menu.

As Dominguez announces a range of numbers illuminated on a light board on the wall – “Up to 870 please… 880 please, 890 please” – guests rise from their seats, hand her their tickets, and line up to be served at the kitchen counter.

“I’d like some chicken,” says the first guest.

Dinner is one of the ways those in need enter the orbit of Miriam’s Kitchen. Some people come for meals years before they take up the group’s offer to match them with a social worker who can find them housing.

It’s easier to accept help from a friend than a stranger, and Dominguez greets many visitors by name: “Hey, Paul! Hey Jeff!

And so for the next hour, when men and women living in parks, in tents, in cars come down the stairs to eat and rest. The last customer goes through the queue at 16:55

Exactly 140 guests were served, about as many as Bell had predicted based on the time of month. Any undelivered food will be packed for those living in permanent supportive housing.

At 7am on a Monday people go downstairs for breakfast.

Miriam’s kitchen, a partner of The Washington Post Helping Hand, serves breakfast and dinner daily to those in need. Plus, it does a lot more. You, too, can help support this work.

To donate Miriam’s Kitchen online, visit posthelpinghand.com and click where it says “Donate”. To receive a check, write to Miriam’s Kitchen, Attn: Development, 2401 Virginia Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20037.


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