For over 19 years, every Wednesday night, St. Mary’s opens the doors of our parish hall to serve a community dinner to any and all guests. This powerful outreach is more than just a hot meal; it is about dignity and compassion toward those who need a helping hand. If you would like to volunteer, please contact Dale Hudson for more information.
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History of Mary’s Kitchen
Mary’s Kitchen began as a vision of Barbara Hendry in early 1994. What started as a simple need to “feed the hungry” quickly blossomed into a full scale ministry with dozens of volunteers.
The first meal was served in Smith Hall on October 26, 1994. Volunteers used the old kitchen equipment until the stoves, ovens, and refrigerators gave out. Parishioners donated funds to purchase our new gas range, exhaust hood, ice machine and a small walk-in cooler/freezer.
When St. Mary’s purchased the old Martin County Library property, a new commercial kitchen was included with the planning. A bigger walk-in cooler/freezer, convection oven, a three-part food steam table serving table, dish sterilizer, stainless steel shelving and working counters and other equipment were added.
Currently Mary’s Kitchen serves a hearty meal each Wednesday evening from 4:45 to 6:00 p.m. to those in need. Our volunteers number over 100, comprising four teams. Since 1994, over 187,000 meals have been served. At every meal, volunteers server bring dinners to the guest tables along with a beverage and dessert. It is important that our diners feel like they are a special guest in our home. We also provide bread, pastries, and sandwiches for guests to take home.
The operating funds are provided by donations from many donors, plus grants from the Episcopal Charities of SE Florida, a FEMA Grant, Thanksgiving donations, and the Empty Soup Bowl Program. A Sponsored Meal program ($250.00) began several years ago which is very popular to honor a loved one, in memory of or other occasion. Many local businesses and organizations have been sponsors.
Mary’s Kitchen ministry continues to be a wonderful outreach to our community. We are grateful for our many volunteers, cooks, servers, set-up/clean-up, bread & pastry\pick uppers, supporters, who make it all possible.