The Kansas City Community Kitchen Experience
“Dining with Dignity” those were the words that captured my attention when I was looking for a charity to get involved with during my 2 month stay in Kansas City at the beginning of 2016. Searching for volunteer opportunities that was food relevant and also something that reaches out to the community. I came across The Kansas City Community Kitchen website (part of the Episcopal Community Services) and was instantly drawn to the restaurant style concept for this soup kitchen. No ordinary soup kitchen this was, a different type of dining experience for the whole community. Whatever situation an individual is in, they are encouraged to dine together at this place… the community feel was so strong.
I wanted to contribute my time & skills to a non-profit organization with a focus that's close to my heart, in this particular case it was two, it being food related and helping others in need. I went into the experience exploring as many aspects of the place as I could. Spent almost 6 weeks there doing everything from kitchen prep, cleaning, dishwashing, sorting donations, cooking & documenting the process on top of it all. I learnt so much from this experience and have gotten to know the wonderful people that surround this place; didn't expect to meet a big group of people in KC that would affect me so much in a short time. Being in the kitchen was a joy and interacting with the community was an experience like no other… overall it has made me feel everything around me more, feeling more sensitive to others and my surroundings.
Food is such a vital part of all of our lives, it’s a necessity that we all need to survive and more so these days something to enjoy through cooking and/or eating. Unfortunately, not everyone has the privilege to experience the latter with food but more of eating to live. What does it mean to go hungry though? Questions like these try to grasp what we mean by hunger, by asking not about that gnawing feeling in the pit of the stomach by the hungry, but about the absence of access to that food in order to live healthily. In the US, the feeling of anxiety around where the next meal comes from is one of the largest hidden costs of hunger. In asking people directly about their access to food, 'food security' is a helpful metric of the indignity, worry, and desperation that hunger causes.
Feeling more aware lately about this thought, my perception has changed greatly on what FOOD is all about ever since I’ve volunteered at KCCK. This project has sparked something inside of me to do something more with my photography, photography with a conscience and a purpose. #grateful
For more on KCCK