Happy Thanksgiving from Special Counsel and Miriam’s Kitchen

Special Counsel at Miriam's KitchenOur D.C. office manned the line, chopped and served in an effort to end homelessness.

When we decided to support Miriam’s kitchen, we knew that it would be a transformative decision.  In a previous blog post we discussed the importance of the organization, and its core goal of ending chronic homelessness in the Washington D.C. area.  Miriam’s Kitchen may be best known as a community kitchen, serving 300+ breakfasts and dinners to those in need.  What we didn’t know, was the full dynamism of the community of dedicated nonprofit professionals and volunteers who meld together a combination of advocacy, social services, and clothing and care item distribution.   The volunteers and welcoming staff are rooted in the community and dedicated to helping the daily guests.

Miriam’s insists that they serve.  Emily Hagel, Assistant Ktichen Director stated it simply:

Many of our guests have developed long-term relationships with Miriam’s.  Often, Miriam’s becomes a place where they can feel accepted, get a warm meal, and be greeted with dignity and respect.  When times are bad, we’re always here providing a caring and thoughtful experience and opening our doors to all who are in need.  A central concept with Miriam’s is “choice”.  That’s why we ask our volunteers to ask guests what they would like.  Sometimes, that simple choice may be the only choice that a guest could have in a day, becoming a symbol of respect.

special counsel at miriams kitchen

But as we learned, dinner isn’t just about choice or simple sustenance; it’s also about healthy options, organic produce, and local sourcing when possible.  Nutrition is huge and the program’s head chef, lovingly referred to as Chef John, works with Emily to create meals that minimize fats and sugars, and focus on lean proteins. When possible, foods are sweetened with honey and ripe fruit, and often include whole grain.

So what was it like at Miriam’s Kitchen when we volunteered?

Our volunteer experience began like a typical dinner shift; we all arrived at 4pm, got into our hats and aprons and were immediately set to work.  Like a well oiled machine, the entire Kitchen was humming under the direction of Chef John.  We all got to chopping, washing, grilling, and arranging.  Then, in a flurry of delicious scented activity, the serving line opened promptly at 5pm to a huge crowd numbering over 300.

What was on the menu?

miriams kitchen menu special counselFriday’s dinner included polenta, pan pizza (with a wheat crust), balsamic glazed eggplant, grapefruit, and muffins.  From 5pm to 6pm the Special Counsel D.C. office served, smiled, and cooked for all dinner guests.  Laura Fulton, Special Counsel D.C.’s Managing Director “The experience was a whirlwind of activity and excitement.  Miriam’s does incredible work serving the homeless in Washington, D.C. in a multitude of ways- from a hot meal on flower adorned tables to providing meaningful social services with the aim of helping its guests transcend homelessness. In the words of Miriam’s Kitchen’s Ashley Lawson it is a “super kitchen.”  We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with Miriam’s and it’s incredible staff, and to participate in this rewarding work.  We are looking forward to doing it again and look forward to exploring creative ways to get more involved in this truly “super kitchen.””

We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with Miriam’s and it’s incredible staff, and to participate in this rewarding work.

Laura Fulton, Managing Director of Special Counsel D.C.

And the D.C. office will be doing it again!  In an ongoing effort to celebrate Thanksgiving and the D.C. community we’ll be volunteering and sponsoring another dinner on Monday, November 25.  If you are interested in volunteering with Special Counsel or would like to learn more about Miriam’s Kitchen visit their website.

Happy Thanksgiving from Special Counsel!

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