The Community Kitchen is preparing to open next week.
The kitchen is a new project spearheaded by the First United Methodist Church. After several months of planning, additional leaders have been recruited and plans put in place for operations.
Charlene Dart, associate pastor at First United Methodist, and Steve Stidham have taken on the roles of co-chairpersons. Marie Medlin and Ann Ellis will coordinate the volunteers. Bill Medlin Jr. is the transportation coordinator. The food coordinators, who plan menus and make sure there is enough food, are Carol Stidham and Melissa Priest. Brenda Davis is the communications coordinator.
"We've had a wonderful response from the community," Dart said. "We want to emphasize that while First United Methodist is hosting the kitchen, we want this to be a community outreach, one that all the community helps with. That's why we named it the Community Kitchen."
Plans call for serving hot meals three days a week on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Meals will be served from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and from noon to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. The first meal will be served on Tuesday, Nov. 2. The kitchen will also serve dinner on Thanksgiving day.
Transportation to and from the church at 1600 N. Central will be available from Crosslines and the Monett Senior Citizens Center.
"The Community Kitchen is for those in need, who may be going through a rough time and may not have the capability of providing food for themselves at the present time," Dart said. "If you want to come and eat, come and eat. There is no charge. The kitchen is open to anyone. There will be no screening of individuals coming to the kitchen."
A concentrated effort has been made to reach people who may need the kitchen. Fliers have been distributed in both English and Spanish. Organizers have been working with the Monett School District to get information home to families, as well as through Crosslines and local motels.
Approximately 60 to 70 volunteers have signed up to help, Dart said.
"We've had generous donations of food, including a place to store it," Dart said. "It's been wonderful."
The Community Kitchen is considered an experiment. The coming months will be used to gauge interest and need in the community.
For additional information, call Dart at 235-2364.