Sally Michelson has made a lot of friends over the last five years, serving as Director of Paducah’s Community Kitchen. From the volunteers she works with, to the people the kitchen feeds throughout the week, Sally has a special place in her heart for them all. She spends her days and weeks, making sure that the Community Kitchen has what it needs to serve Paducah’s hungry.
She began working with the Community Kitchen about six years ago when she and other members of New Covenant Church noticed that there were a lot of hungry people in Paducah with little to no resources and no place to fill their empty bellies.
“We saw people walking around with such great need and we wanted to do something to help,” Sally says.
So, Sally and others from the church pulled together resources and opened the Community Kitchen, located at 1225 Broadway. The kitchen serves lunch five days a week, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., to Paducah’s hungry families and individuals. Over the years the number of people the Community Kitchen serves has grown tremendously. During the Kitchen’s inaugural week, volunteers served 37 lunches. Today, those numbers can reach as high as 300 meals each week. In fact, in 2013 the Community Kitchen served just over 57,000!
For many of its patrons, the meals served at the Community Kitchen are the only nutritious meals they receive all week. Without the support of community volunteers and the generosity of local charitable foundations, the Community Kitchen would not be able to fulfill the mission they have set out to accomplish. If fact, many families would have nothing to feed their children if it weren’t for the work that Sally and the volunteers do each week.
“Anyone who’s hungry can come in and have a meal with us,” Sally says. “In order to do this, we rely heavily on the generosity of the community and local charitable foundations.”
All of the money donated to the Community Kitchen goes to purchase food, paper plates and cups, as well as to pay the utility bills, and to maintain equipment for their operations. Everyone who works there is a volunteer and it requires anywhere from 60 to 80 volunteers each week to get the work done.
Paducah Bank is happy to be part of the efforts being made by the Community Kitchen for the hungry of Paducah and the surrounding area. As part of the bank’s Swipe and Serve program, Paducah Bank will donate each quarter in 2014 to four community projects dedicated to feeding the region’s hungry, including the Community Kitchen, the River City Mission, Paducah Cooperative Ministries and the 4-H Food Backpack. The bank hopes to donate $7,500 each quarter to these organizations in order to help feed Paducah’s hungry based on the usage of Paducah Bank’s debit cards. The more customers swipe, the more people are served.
“Can you imagine serving 57,000 meals without the support of the local community?” Sally asks. “The people we serve depend on us. Without the community’s generous financial and volunteer support we would never be able to make this happen.”