Featured Charity: Miriam's Kitchen

What does your organization do and how are you different from other groups that have similar missions?

 

Feed The Children provides hope and resources for those without life’s essentials.  We provide food and essentials, educational support and disaster relief to children and families who have been victimized by war, poverty, famine and natural disasters.

 

What sets Feed The Children apart from other hunger relief organizations is our fleet of more than 50 semi tractor-trailer trucks that crisscross the nation on a daily basis providing help and hope to those who are hungry and hurting.  We work through local partner agencies in each city who deal with the problem of hunger on a daily basis.  They are experts in each community and help us to identify those who are most in need.

 

Where is your organization located?  Do you support the local community, all over the U.S., or internationally?

 

Our headquarters are located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and we certainly do a great deal of work there, but we also work nationally and internationally.  In addition to the headquarters, Feed The Children has distribution centers located in Ontario, CA, North Brunswick, NJ, Nashville, TN, Elkhart, IN and Houston, TX.  Internationally, Feed The Children is active in a number of countries in Africa, Asia, The Philippines and Latin America.

 

The need for help is greater than ever.  How has your organization responded to the economic crisis?

 

In response to the economic downturn in the U.S., Feed The Children established the Americans Feeding Americans Caravan, which identified cities from border to border and coast to coast that were hit hard by job losses, plant closings, foreclosures, high poverty rates and unemployment.  

 

Since embarking on the caravan in early 2009, Feed The Children has provided food and essentials to more than 310,000 families nationwide and we are already identifying locations to continue the caravan in 2012.

 

Is there a time during the year when you need more help than usual?

 

Of course, the holiday season is our busiest time of year, but the local agencies we work with across the nation will tell you that the greatest time of need is during the summer months when children are not in school and food pantry shelves are often empty.  It is also a time when many people are not thinking of helping those in need as much as during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons.

 

Hunger never takes a holiday and that is why we continue to battle this growing problem 365 days a year.

 

How can I help?  Is there something your organization specifically needs help with right now? 

 

The best way to support our work is with a monetary donation and a $20 monthly gift will feed a hungry child.  Cash donations help us deliver the food and essentials that provide a 25-pound box of food and a 10-pound box of essentials that support a family for up to a week. 

 

If I were to make a donation today, how much of an impact would that donation have?  How does your organization put monetary donations to use? Do you have any examples or stories you could share?

 

Your donation today would put a box of food and a box of essentials directly into the hands of a family in need.  We use monetary donations to help transport that precious cargo to children and families in need all across America.  And we also use them to help leverage our relationships with corporate partners to encourage them to donate more of their product to help those who are hungry and hurting.

 

For every dollar our supporters provide, we can turn that into seven dollars of food and supplies through the efficiency of our delivery and distribution process and our model of working with local partner agencies.  The individual donor is the final piece of the puzzle in getting relief to those who need it most.

 

It is heartwarming and tragic at the same time to hear the reaction of a child when we provide a box of food at our distributions.  They often ask their parents if there is food in the box and when they are assured that there is, they often say “That means we get to eat tonight.”

 

What one thing do you wish more people knew about your organization’s work?

 

That we do the bulk of our work in the United States.  While Feed The Children has been active internationally for 32 years and provides 350,000 meals a day around the world, most of what we do is done right here in America.   Wherever there is a need, Feed The Children strives to be there.

 

 

Several retailers have teamed up with charities to support specific causes.  What could a company (of any size) do to help your organization? Are there examples you can share about how companies currently are teaming up with your organization?

 

Avon has been a partner every step of the way on our Americans Feeding Americans Caravan, providing boxes of their products to all families that receive assistance at our distributions.  PepsiCo and their affiliates from Frito-Lay have also sponsored several stops on the caravan, providing product and volunteers at events.

 

The best way a company can support our efforts is to donate product and make cash contributions to sponsor truck distributions.  And their employees also get a chance to volunteer at the distributions to make an impact in their local communities.

 

What makes your organization successful and what advice would you share with other charities out there?

 

The dedication of our 250 plus employees is a major reason that we are able to fulfill our mission each day.  They are at Feed The Children because of their desire to make a difference in the world they live in and to help the innocent victims caught in the crossfire of economic distress and poverty - the children.

 

My advice to other charities is to always be true to your mission and believe in the work you do.  That attitude is infectious and carries over to volunteers, advocates and all the people that are helped at our events.

 

Do you have any current or upcoming special events? 

 

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the holiday portion of our Americans Feeding Americans will reach more than 50,000 families nationwide in 18 states, providing help and hope to families who might otherwise have no food on the table.

What does your organization do and how are you different from other groups that have similar missions?

 

Feed The Children provides hope and resources for those without life’s essentials.  We provide food and essentials, educational support and disaster relief to children and families who have been victimized by war, poverty, famine and natural disasters.

 

What sets Feed The Children apart from other hunger relief organizations is our fleet of more than 50 semi tractor-trailer trucks that crisscross the nation on a daily basis providing help and hope to those who are hungry and hurting.  We work through local partner agencies in each city who deal with the problem of hunger on a daily basis.  They are experts in each community and help us to identify those who are most in need.

 

Where is your organization located?  Do you support the local community, all over the U.S., or internationally?

 

Our headquarters are located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and we certainly do a great deal of work there, but we also work nationally and internationally.  In addition to the headquarters, Feed The Children has distribution centers located in Ontario, CA, North Brunswick, NJ, Nashville, TN, Elkhart, IN and Houston, TX.  Internationally, Feed The Children is active in a number of countries in Africa, Asia, The Philippines and Latin America.

 

The need for help is greater than ever.  How has your organization responded to the economic crisis?

 

In response to the economic downturn in the U.S., Feed The Children established the Americans Feeding Americans Caravan, which identified cities from border to border and coast to coast that were hit hard by job losses, plant closings, foreclosures, high poverty rates and unemployment.  

 

Since embarking on the caravan in early 2009, Feed The Children has provided food and essentials to more than 310,000 families nationwide and we are already identifying locations to continue the caravan in 2012.

 

Is there a time during the year when you need more help than usual?

 

Of course, the holiday season is our busiest time of year, but the local agencies we work with across the nation will tell you that the greatest time of need is during the summer months when children are not in school and food pantry shelves are often empty.  It is also a time when many people are not thinking of helping those in need as much as during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons.

 

Hunger never takes a holiday and that is why we continue to battle this growing problem 365 days a year.

 

How can I help?  Is there something your organization specifically needs help with right now? 

 

The best way to support our work is with a monetary donation and a $20 monthly gift will feed a hungry child.  Cash donations help us deliver the food and essentials that provide a 25-pound box of food and a 10-pound box of essentials that support a family for up to a week. 

 

If I were to make a donation today, how much of an impact would that donation have?  How does your organization put monetary donations to use? Do you have any examples or stories you could share?

 

Your donation today would put a box of food and a box of essentials directly into the hands of a family in need.  We use monetary donations to help transport that precious cargo to children and families in need all across America.  And we also use them to help leverage our relationships with corporate partners to encourage them to donate more of their product to help those who are hungry and hurting.

 

For every dollar our supporters provide, we can turn that into seven dollars of food and supplies through the efficiency of our delivery and distribution process and our model of working with local partner agencies.  The individual donor is the final piece of the puzzle in getting relief to those who need it most.

 

It is heartwarming and tragic at the same time to hear the reaction of a child when we provide a box of food at our distributions.  They often ask their parents if there is food in the box and when they are assured that there is, they often say “That means we get to eat tonight.”

 

What one thing do you wish more people knew about your organization’s work?

 

That we do the bulk of our work in the United States.  While Feed The Children has been active internationally for 32 years and provides 350,000 meals a day around the world, most of what we do is done right here in America.   Wherever there is a need, Feed The Children strives to be there.

 

 

Several retailers have teamed up with charities to support specific causes.  What could a company (of any size) do to help your organization? Are there examples you can share about how companies currently are teaming up with your organization?

 

Avon has been a partner every step of the way on our Americans Feeding Americans Caravan, providing boxes of their products to all families that receive assistance at our distributions.  PepsiCo and their affiliates from Frito-Lay have also sponsored several stops on the caravan, providing product and volunteers at events.

 

The best way a company can support our efforts is to donate product and make cash contributions to sponsor truck distributions.  And their employees also get a chance to volunteer at the distributions to make an impact in their local communities.

 

What makes your organization successful and what advice would you share with other charities out there?

 

The dedication of our 250 plus employees is a major reason that we are able to fulfill our mission each day.  They are at Feed The Children because of their desire to make a difference in the world they live in and to help the innocent victims caught in the crossfire of economic distress and poverty - the children.

 

My advice to other charities is to always be true to your mission and believe in the work you do.  That attitude is infectious and carries over to volunteers, advocates and all the people that are helped at our events.

 

Do you have any current or upcoming special events? 

 

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the holiday portion of our Americans Feeding Americans will reach more than 50,000 families nationwide in 18 states, providing help and hope to families who might otherwise have no food on the table.

Miriam's Kitchen   Give Now

There are more than 6,500 homeless individuals living on the streets of Washington, DC on any given night.  Of those, more than 2,000 are considered chronically homeless--meaning they are living with a physical or mental disability and have been homeless for at least one year (or multiple times over the past few years).  These individuals often live with severe mental illness, chronic substance abuse and/or severe health problems. Their quality of life is diminished and their life expectancy is cut short.  They are struggling to survive.  These are the men and women Miriam's Kitchen serves.

In this week's Featured Charity interview, find out not only how Miriam's Kitchen is providing free, healthy meals and case management services to DC's homeless, but what they are doing to put an end to chronic homelessness in Washington, DC.

What does your organization do and how are you different from other groups with similar missions?

We provide DC's homeless with free healthy meals and case management services, and advocate for the permanent supportive housing and systemic change necessary to end chronic homelessness in Washington, DC.

A few things make us different:

  • Our chefs’ insistence on serving quality, healthy meals.
  • The care with which our Case Managers develop relationships with our guests.
  • Our reliance on individual donors rather than on government support.  

Where is your organization located?

Miriam’s Kitchen is located in and supports the Washington, DC community.

Miriam’s Kitchen is located in and supports the Washington, DC community.

How has your organization responded to the economic crisis?

Our leadership has been instrumental in making sure Miriam’s Kitchen has had the tools necessary to survive the economic crisis. We have an important fiscal policy in place that requires us to have at least 50% of our budget in reserve at all times.

This fiscal security has allowed us to continue to grow, even in tough economic times. Since 2008, we’ve doubled our program hours to include dinner and evening case management services, nearly doubled our budget and staff to ensure our guests have the resources and support necessary to succeed, and have launched an advocacy program with the ultimate goal of ending chronic homelessness in DC. 

We know the needs of our community are great and we’ve worked hard to ensure we can continue to meet them in the best ways possible.

Is there a time during the year when you need more help than usual?

Throughout the year, we’re lucky to have support from more than 2,000 dedicated volunteers. This large base of volunteer support allows us to weather the ups and downs of increased demand for our services.

Some things that are always needed though include in-kind and financial donations. We don’t necessarily see demand for these items spike at any one time, but rather they fluctuate according to the time of year. For instance, right now our in-kind donation wish list includes sleeping bags, winter hats and gloves to help our guests get through the coldest months of the year.

How can I help?  

We’d love your help!  Our two biggest needs right now are:

We’d love your help!

Our two biggest needs right now are:

In-Kind Donations from our Wish List

Financial Contributions

If I make a donation today, how much of an impact will that donation have?  

Your gift would make a tremendous impact! Every dollar counts—especially since we’re able to create a healthy meal for one of our guests for just $1 in food costs! A gift of $50 will provide healthy meals to one guest for an entire month.

If case management is what you’re interested in, a donation of $200 will provide case management services to one guest for all of 2012!

We will serve more than 4,000 homeless men and women in 2012 on a budget of $2,250,300, meaning every donation truly does have an impact.

What one thing do you wish more people knew about your organization’s work?

We are always really excited to share with our community our work to end chronic homelessness in DC. We just recently focused our efforts on this new vision and have put a lot of work into it already. Some of the completed tasks include: identifying our theory of change and the strategies we think are important for us to implement to end chronic homelessness, and launching our advocacy program to focus on advocating for permanent supportive housing and systemic change.

We’re currently developing tools to share more details about our new vision and can’t wait to show them to you when they’re completed in early 2012.

We are always really excited to share with our community our work to end chronic homelessness in DC. We just recently focused our efforts on this new vision and have put a lot of work into it already. Some of the completed tasks include: identifying our theory of change and the strategies we think are important for us to implement to end chronic homelessness, and launching our advocacy program to focus on advocating for permanent supportive housing and systemic change.

We’re currently developing tools to share more details about our new vision and can’t wait to show them to you when they’re completed in early 2012.

What could a company (of any size) do to help your organization? 

We love sharing our work with the companies that support our community!

Some ways that companies have helped recently include:

  • Sponsoring a meal. A sponsorship of $1,500 gives our partner companies the opportunity to bring a group of 10 employees to volunteer for either a breakfast or dinner shift. The sponsorship covers all of the costs (food, equipment, staff, etc…) that go into making a healthy meal for 200 homeless men and women.
  • Conducting a food, clothing or toiletry drive. Our guests rely on donations from our community to meet their basic needs, and the past few months have seen underwear drives, canned tuna collections and deodorant donations (among many others) from companies throughout the DC area.
  • Sponsoring our gala. Every year, nearly 25% of the funds we need to provide quality services to our guests are raised at our gala, 100 Bowls of Compassion. Held on May 10, 2012 at the National Building Museum, 100 Bowls of Compassion will feature gourmet food prepared and served by our very own volunteers and chefs, as well as inspiring stories of hope and gratitude. Sponsorship packages start at just $5,000 and include a table at the gala and event recognition.

What makes your organization successful and what advice would you share with other charities out there?

Miriam’s Kitchen is successful for a few reasons:

  1. The organization is grounded in solid business practices. Examples include our fiscal policies mentioned above and our selection as an awardee of the Washington Post Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management.
  2. Employees, volunteers, donors and guests are treated well. We’ve been named a Best Place to Work in Greater Washington by both the Washingtonian and the Washington Business Journal. We’ve also been named the Best Place to Volunteer in DC by the Washington City Paper and one of the best small charities in DC by the Catalogue for Philanthropy. Finally, the guests we serve continue to give us high marks for service: ‘When I had no place to go, Miriam’s Kitchen was there for me.’
  3. We continue to grow, adapt and change according to the needs of our guests. We’ve grown a lot since we first opened our doors in 1983. We’re no longer just serving breakfast, but rather now providing case management services, therapeutic group activities and an outlet for guest-led advocacy to more than 4,000 homeless men and women in DC each year. Our vision has changed from simply meeting the basic needs of our guests to working to implement solutions to end chronic homelessness in DC.

Through it all though, we’ve maintained a consistent culture of inclusiveness, hospitality and respect. This consistency of culture has helped us succeed and is important for any organization working through change.

Do you have any upcoming special events?

Our biggest event is 100 Bowls of Compassion—coming up on Thursday, May 10th from 6-9:30 pm at the National Building Museum in DC. Tickets go on sale in March and can be purchased at www.miriamskitchen.org. For information about sponsoring the gala, please contact our Executive Director, Scott Schenkelberg, at scott@miriamskitchen.org or (202) 452-8926 x 222.

Our biggest event is 100 Bowls of Compassion—coming up on Thursday, May 10th from 6-9:30 pm at the National Building Museum in DC. Tickets go on sale in March and can be purchased at www.miriamskitchen.org. For information about sponsoring the gala, please contact our Executive Director, Scott Schenkelberg, at scott@miriamskitchen.org or (202) 452-8926 x 222.

 

Want to learn more about Miriam's Kitchen?

Web Site:    www.miriamskitchen.org

Phone:  202-452-8926

Mailing Address:  2401 Virginia Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20037 2401 Virginia Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20037 2401 Virginia Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20037 2401 Virginia Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20037

CFC#:  27085

E-mail:  info@miriamskitchen.org   info@miriamskitchen.org info@miriamskitchen.org info@miriamskitchen.org

Follow Miriam's Kitchen on:

@miriamskitchen @miriamskitchen      

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