The very first meals were served at the Community Kitchen (CK) of Monroe County in March of 1983. Women from several Bloomington churches were instrumental in the organization of the Community Kitchen. Their sentiment was simple: Feed hungry people,no questions asked. This policy still stands today.
CK has grown from a small organization with one part-time employee serving meals three days a week to one with full and part time employees and volunteers serving meals six days a week.
CK has also grown the number of services it offers. CK has been very proactive in addressing the needs of at-risk children in the community. Research shows that breakfast is probably the most important meal of the day and that children who receive breakfast at school perform much better. In order to fill the gap between school years, CK started a nutritious summer breakfast program in 1994. Brown bag breakfasts are distributed ice-cream truck style, in various low income housing areas. Meals are also served on holidays.
In addition to meals, CK offers information and referral services so that patrons are aware of other programs available for their support. CK responds to the long and short term needs of its patrons. This type of social support is often just as important as the meals.
Here are CK’s basic operating principles:
-Anyone who needs a meal can eat.
-The privacy of all patrons are protected.
-Provide patrons from all walks of life with excellence.
-Meals are nutritious and there are vegetarian options.
-The majority of the food is received through the Hoosier Hills Food Bank or donated by our generous community. Supplies are supplemented by retail food purchases.
The CK continues to expand to serve the community. As of 2017, CK serves 306,628 meals and snacks, representing a 3.1% percent increase over 2016.
The 11th annual Chefs’ Challenge celebrated Lake Hubbard as the champion. This benefit, along with the four delicious brunches that are crafted by local chefs, make up the biggest fundraisers for CK programs.