The Friendly Kitchen Operation Today

The Friendly Kitchen is run by volunteers who plan the menus, prepare, cook and serve the food, and wash the dishes. Financial support comes from individuals, the faith and service communities, family and charitable trusts, and businesses. The Friendly Kitchen receives support from the United Way, matching gift programs, as well as remembrance and memorial gifts.

Quick Facts About The Friendly Kitchen

  • Volunteers donated more than 12,000 hours preparing and serving meals in 2016.
  • Fifty volunteer groups from churches, service and civic organizations, and local businesses rotate monthly preparing and serving dinners and weekend breakfasts. Many of the groups donate the food that they prepare and serve.
  • Twenty individuals volunteer weekly to prepare and serve weekday lunches.
  • Eighteen individuals volunteer to prepare and serve during our winter weekday breakfast program.
  • Others collectively volunteer more than 100 hours a month to help with basic chores, such as cleaning, restocking shelves and sorting clothing.
  • Ninety-nine percent of its annual operating budget comes from community donations.
  • It fulfills its mission on the admirably small annual operating budget of $260,000.
  • It receives about $172,000 in donated food each year.
  • It employs one full-time director, one full-time custodian and six part-time employees who help with organizing the pantry, mealtime supervision, office duties and custodial work.
  • Food comes from individuals, local grocery stores, restaurants, and organizations that hold food drives on behalf of The Friendly Kitchen.
Year Guests Served Meals Served
2002 15,687 22,551
2003 20,161 28,313
2004 23,354 30,079
2005 24,061 32,234
2006 27,157 39,918
2007 30,726 43,969
2008 30,671 49,440
2009 32,946 57,455
2010 38,556 45,581
2011 36,619 44,735
2012 48,795 57,606
2013 52,802 60,385
2014 51,177 59,101
2015 46,301 54,330
2016 44,547 53,498

While these statistics are useful, they do not tell the whole story. After moving into Hope House, we began opening our doors at 3PM so that guests could come early for coffee and companionship with others. We soon discovered that many of these people had not eaten all day, and were hungry. So we began putting out sandwiches and leftovers immediately to feed them.

Soon, we began serving breakfast on weekends, first on Saturdays and then on Sundays, and the number of breakfast guests has steadily increased to more than 60 each weekend this morning. In the winter of 2005, after discussions with the minister at the nearby First Congregational Church, we began serving breakfast on weekdays in order to feed the people staying overnight at the Church’s homeless shelter. The Friendly Kitchen serves these breakfasts each winter during the cold weather. We also serve lunch Monday through Friday.

  • Dinner daily from 5 to 6 p.m. to an average of 100 guests
  • Lunch from noon to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday to an average of 60 guests
  • Weekend breakfasts from 8 to 9 a.m. to an average of 60 guests
  • Seasonal weekday breakfast December – March to an average of 45 guests

We have every reason to believe that the need to feed the hungry in our community will only become greater in the coming years. The Friendly Kitchen will need additional help and support to continue carrying out our mission in the future.