Community Care Kitchen
The Salvation Army Omaha North Corps' Community Care Kitchen is a program designed to simply feed the hungry. However, over time this program has developed greater purposes: supporting the working poor, empowering individuals with knowledge on further education programs and career opportunities, and providing hope for participants to have a few moments of normality and safety.
Although feeding the hungry appears to be an extremely simple task, providing nutritious and hot meals are vital for our community. Many of our participants are living on the streets, are still in process or have successfully overcome addiction, or are working hard to support their families. Our Community Care Kitchen participants are in need of nutrition, not just food. The North Corps Community Center is proud to be able to be that one meal a day that sustains them until the next day. This goal alone is an expensive and daunting responsibility. The Salvation Army has only been able to continue to provide health and wellness for the city with your financial support and generosity.
Safety is our secondary goal within our Community Care Kitchen. The Community Care Kitchen meals are hosted for only two and a half hours per day. However, this is two and a half hours of peace that most of our clients wouldn’t experience without the Community Care Kitchen. As soon as our clients cross the threshold into our gym, an attitude of respect and rest is evident.
Lastly, we strive to empower our participants by providing opportunities for them to learn about further education programs and/or prospective career changes. Although, we have a select group of participants who do work, we have a large majority who do not. We would like to break the cycle of poverty, which won’t happen unless the greater Omaha community is empowering the unemployed and uneducated to rise up.
These goals provide their challenges but are also motivating our work. We are developing plans to have a regular schedule of guest speakers to come and share during Community Care Kitchen hours. Currently we are partnering with First National Bank, Metropolitan Community College North Campus and ExperienceWorks.
Who We Serve
The Salvation Omaha North Corps’ Community Care Kitchen has a wide variety of cliental but primarily targets low- or close-to-no-income individuals. Some are employed in low-income positions in construction, lawn care services, babysitting for family members, etc. We do not request the income information of our clients, but we are aware of their social status based on where they live. The majority of our clients come from a low-income high rise across the street from our location. We do welcome all people into our Community Care Kitchen.
North Omaha is a predominantly African-American, low-income community of over 35,000 residents. The population of the community is more male, older, and heavily African-American than the population of Omaha in general. The Community Care Kitchen served 9,036 meals to 2,277 individuals in the second quarter of 2016. Of these individuals, 65 percent were male with the remaining 35 percent being female. 84 percent were African-American, 3 percent Hispanic, 11 percent Caucasian with the remaining 2 percent being of other ethnicities. 76 percent of the clients were between 18-64 years of age, with 16 percent being over 65 and 8 percent school age or younger. Therefore, our typical client is a middle-aged African-American male who eats at the Community Care Kitchen at least four times a week.
The Salvation Army Omaha North Corps Community Care Kitchen is much more than a feeding program. It is an environment of encouragement and support. It is a safe place where clients know that they will find a warm welcome and a hot tasty meal. We have had several opportunities to celebrate with our program participants.
One gentleman, who started attending the Community Care Kitchen received a doctor’s report of serious medical conditions. It was determined that he had high cholesterol and stage two diabetes. This man was determined to combat these medical conditions. He began eating regularly at the Community Care Kitchen, making healthy food choices. He would walk every day before and after meal time. After a few months, he revisited his doctor to run the tests again. This time, however, the results were much different! Due the consistent healthy diet and nutrition that this man was receiving from The Salvation Army Omaha North Corps’ Community Care Kitchen, he was able to decrease one of his medications and eliminate another entirely.
He shared this exciting news with an attitude of thankfulness for our services. After hearing his story, others began to share similar stories of how the consistent nutritious meals had helped them.