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Open Kitchen in Redmond serves people in need
There’s a new community feeding program in town and it is open to anyone and everyone, no questions asked.
Open Kitchen, a new ministry of Redmond United Methodist Church (RUMC), was started by coordinators and church members Kristen Muscott, Shelia Kandeler and Jayleen Ryberg. The three women came together to start the soup kitchen because, “We knew there was a need in the Redmond community,” Ryberg said.
They serve a meal every Wednesday, from 5-7 p.m. at RUMC, at 16540 N.E. 80th St. in downtown, and this week was their third meal. They served about 15 people.
“We’re really focused on soup and sandwiches,” Ryberg said about the food they serve.
As Muscott, Kandeler and Ryberg worked to take Open Kitchen from an idea to a reality, they received a lot of help from the community.
“The first thing we did was pester QFC, the Bella Bottega QFC,” Muscott (below) said.
She said the grocery store manager let them stand at the entrances and ask for donations from shoppers. They would hand people lists of what they needed and soon found they needed to add more to their lists.
“We cleared the shelves,” Muscott said.
In addition, QFC donated a gift card for them to use on perishables that would not keep fresh from week to week. Muscott said they also received a gift card from Costco in Kirkland, coffee and volunteers from the Bella Bottega Starbucks and leftover fried chicken — which would be repurposed for soups — from Ezell’s Chicken in Woodinville.
“We would not have gotten as far as we’ve come without the support of this community,” Muscott said.
Peter Whyman (below), a volunteer with Open Kitchen, said they have seen a lot of support and enthusiasm from individual community members, as well, not just businesses.
“A lot of folks want to help,” he said.
Kandeler (below) added that in addition to connecting with community members, it has been great to see volunteers like Whyman connect with each other, as well.
Open Kitchen has also received a lot of support from Nourishing Networks, a coalition that began as an initiative of Redmond-based Hopelink and brings together people within the community to help fill the gaps that the current network of social services is unable to meet.
“They know a lot of people,” Muscott said about the organization helping them get the word out about Open Kitchen.
RUMC has also been very supportive of the program, from providing encouragement for Muscott, Kandeler and Ryberg, to providing the actual kitchen and space to serve the community.
“(RUMC pastor Cara Scriven) basically tells us, ‘Go out into the world and do good,’” Muscott said. “She challenges us.”
Scriven said it has been inspiring for her — as a person of faith — to see how much hard work the three coordinators are putting in to make Open Kitchen successful.
“For me, it is a privilege to work with people who are so passionate about other people eating,” she said. “I am so proud of them. They’re doing what I tell them to do. They’re doing what their faith is telling them to do.”
Scriven added that it has been amazing to watch the greater community — beyond the three women and the church membership — get involved and help, as well.
“It’s just fabulous to know it’s more than just us who see the need,” she said.
Open Kitchen will be open to the community on Christmas and New Year’s Day. For more information, visit openkitchenredmond.com.