Approximately 2 years ago, CrossRoads was ready to expand its fight against poverty. After reading the book “Begging for Change” CrossRoads Director, Michele Ison, became fascinated with the concept of addressing the root causes of hunger and unemployment through a Culinary Job Training program. The model and inspiration were already there. DC Central Kitchen is a nationally recognized “community kitchen” that recycles food from around Washington DC and uses it as a tool to train unemployed adults to develop work skills while providing thousands of meals for local service agencies in the process.
At this time, CrossRoads was already feeding over 1,000 people each month through its community meals. Knowing that feeding people is important, but not the whole solution to alleviating hunger, Michele Ison and Todd Camp partnered in an exciting new project. Turning their old, dilapidated kitchen into a chef’s kitchen where people would not only be fed, but also offered the opportunity to learn cooking skills that would hopefully lead to employment.
Shortly after the decision to move forward was made, Michele came across an article in Owensboro’s newspaper. It was a story about local resident, Kim Jagoe, and how she had just returned to Owensboro from Culinary School. It mentioned that she had a similar vision. Michele contacted Kim and gave her a copy of the book that had so inspired her. Kim made a trip to DC Central Kitchen and agreed that the program was just what Owensboro needed.
Now, the kitchen had to be renovated. A huge job… and a very costly one for a ministry with little finances. But as always, God provided everything needed. A large donation was made to CrossRoads. Some of the equipment was donated as well, and some purchased at a very reduced price. Turner Construction, who was in town building the new hospital, agreed to take on the project. For 8 months they worked closely with Michele, and with the help of many local subcontractors, completed the beautiful new kitchen in March 2013.
Throughout the renovation, it was amazing to watch people come together and work so hard to turn the kitchen into something special. Turner Construction donated thousands of dollars in supplies and time, numerous local contractors waived their fees, volunteers worked tirelessly cleaning and re-cleaning, packing and un-packing, setting up, tearing down. The project never could have been completed, and so well done, without the help of the many, many volunteers.
After CrossRoads’ Kitchen was completed, Kim was given the opportunity to use the kitchen free of charge and began her program “A Simple Path” in April, 2013. We look forward to starting and enabling more programs in the future as we utilize the kitchen to its fullest potential.