Member Profile

Community Kitchen

Mission Statement

The Community Kitchen, Inc is a not-for-profit direct service United Way Agency providing healthy and nutritious hot meals, take-home food boxes and advocacy to low and moderate income men, women and families with children in the Monadnock Region.

The Community Kitchen aligns its actions very closely to its Mission Statement.  It operates a soup kitchen, which provides a free and open to all hot meal weekday evenings and Sunday lunchtimes, and a food pantry, which distributes food to financially qualified residents of Cheshire County.  The food pantry is a choice pantry - clients walk through and take the food they need/want.  The Pantry Program offers enough food for 3 days food for each member of the household.  In 2016 we served 25,009 meals through the Hot Meals Program and had 2,953 unduplicated people registered in the Pantry Program.  The clients cover every age range and in a recent pantry 24% of the clients were seniors and 22% were school age children.

The Community Kitchen was founded in 1983 by a group of like-minded people who recognized an unmet need.  Evening meals were offered at local churches three times a week but it soon became clear that there was a bigger issue, guests were often asking to take food home with them, and the distribution of food boxes was added to the organization.  The first "pantry" distribution was done from the back of a pickup!  It became obvious that a permanent base was need for the organization and their 2 story building on Mechanic Street in Keene was purchased in 1994.  The buying of the building took almost all their money so two Community Development Block Grants were used to renovate the building, installing an industrial kitchen, dining room, ADA bathrooms, walk-in freezers and coolers, offices and a reception area.  The second floor of the building was tidied up (the bowling alley was removed) and as it was to be used primarily for food storage it was pretty much left as it was.

The Community Kitchen was delighted and excited to be recommended for funding for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to help renovate their building.  After purchasing and renovating their base at 37 Mechanic Street in 1994 it has become increasingly obvious that a considerable amount of work needed to be done for them to be able to continue to fulfill their mission.  The second story of the building was essentially ignored during the initial renovations and now, some nearly 20 years later, work has to be done.

The list of what is to be completed through the CDBG is extensive and varied: a new floor to be installed on the second floor; remove and replace walk-in freezer and refrigerator on second floor; remove and replace kitchen ceiling and floor; remove and install new range in kitchen; install additional convection oven; remove and install three exterior doors on north of building; repoint and render exterior walls of building; install insulation in roof; install insulation on second floor; install dry wall on second floor walls; update bathroom floors and tiling; install replacement conveyor belt; upgrade floor drains in kitchen and walk-in cooler on first floor; re-zone heating and cooling in building; replace fluorescent lighting with LED; remove and install new walk-in freezer on first floor; and ... that seems a lot doesn't it?

The successful application for the CDBG ensures that the building will be brought up to date and the organization can carry on their amazing work.

The Community Kitchen has an active Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/thecommunitykitchenkeene/ (tag us @thecommunitykitchenkeene) which will show you what's happening at the Kitchen and their website is www.thecommunitykitchen.org and this gives an opportunity to contact the Kitchen staff and download forms to volunteer.

The telephone number is 603 352 3200 and their building is at 37 Mechanic Street in Keene.  The front door is open from 9am till 6.20pm weekdays and from 11am-12 noon on Sundays.

Posted on: Tuesday, May 16, 2017

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