Beverly Rogers led the efforts to get the kitchen up and running. "We served a little over 100 people on our first day," Rogers said. Since opening, a refrigerator, stove, deep freeze and $500 to buy turkeys have been donated to the kitchen. "We will serve a lot of turkey recipes," laughed Rogers. Rogers said the kitchen is extremely happy with the amount of help from volunteers.
"We have been blessed with a lot of donations from people, and we received a lot of positive feedback from those that came in. They loved it and couldn't believe it was a full service meal. We were glad and everyone was appreciative and enjoyed it immensely. People came in that hadn't been in since it was Rosie's Place restaurant, and couldn't believe the changes that have been made. We were proud to hear that from the public," Rogers said.
Like any new organization, the kitchen is still a work in progress. "We are learning as we go and making changes as we see appropriate. We are still working on our 501 C-3 (not for profit organization status)," Rogers said. Rogers added the kitchen will not just be serving soups, but plans to offer full meals.
The community has shown a great interest in Hands of Hope Kitchen but Rogers said organizers are still welcoming any and all help. "We have started a bank account through Bank of Thayer. If anyone wants to help they can donate to the Hands of Hope Kitchen. If they have a specific use they want their donation to be used for, they need to indicate that on the check or with their donation," said Rogers.
Something new for the kitchen will be home deliveries, beginning Dec. 8. If someone knows someone who is home bound, don't have a car, elderly or disabled, they can call Rogers to set up a home delivery. Delivery will be available to Thayer, Koshkonong and Mammoth Spring. "The delivery drivers will be the volunteers that have children. They want to do it as a family. They will be able to get to know those who are homebound," Rogers said.
Hands of Hope Kitchen opens next on Saturday, Nov. 24. Rogers said it will serve a Mexican Fiesta, giving everyone a break from the holiday turkey. "We will have Spanish rice, refried beans, Mexican cornbread and Mexican corn. Volunteers are bringing in Mexican chicken, burritos, enchiladas, and they will be all homemade dishes," Rogers said. Rogers is hoping for a bigger crowd. They have a new, eight foot banner that says 'Free food served here today,' which will hang on the fence outside so everyone can see it
As another way to give back, the kitchen donated its leftovers on Nov. 10 to the Christo's House Shelter for Battered Women. The board has decided that, in the future, any leftover, Christo's House will receive the food. For more information or questions, call Beverly Rogers at (417) 280-5008.