Annie’s Community Kitchen, a ministry of Edmonds Lutheran Church, opened its doors in 2004, with the purpose of providing a hot and nutritious meal every Wednesday night to everyone, regardless of their circumstances. It was intended to be a neighborhood gathering; not only a place to have basic needs met, but a place for people to come together to foster community a sense of belonging and support. This month, Annie’s Kitchen is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
The Kitchen encourages everyone to come to Wednesday night’s meal, and the dinner is attended by 150-200 people every week. Those in attendance include families in need, individuals and families that are experiencing homelessness, community leaders and volunteers, church members and a large spectrum of people who have come to know of Annie’s Kitchen not as a “soup kitchen” but as a safe, friendly and inviting place to gather for great food and fellowship.
Church member Bob Snyder had a vision to reach out to local businesses and stores to solicit donations of food for the Wednesday evening meal. The response was so vast, that Snyder soon found that he was collecting far more than the kitchen would ever need, and yet it was being thrown away because there wasn’t a process in place to get it from the stores into the hands of people who need it.
This is how the gleaning ministry at ELC began. Today, volunteers of the gleaning team work seven days a week, gathering and distributing anywhere from one to two tons of food every week. This is accomplished by a dedicated team that contributes 80-100 hours of donated labor every week.
Read more about Annie’s Kitchen in this 2012 My Edmonds News story.