Who We Are
The Community Kitchen started as an idea that a group of like-minded people had in 1982. The idea was to provide a meal to those who needed it. Naming the idea was the first problem—”soup kitchen” wasn’t what they wanted so The Keene Community Kitchen was born. In 1983 they started serving food in three local churches, but it soon became clear that the whole need was not being served and so take-home boxes were added to the equation. It also became clear that they were not just serving Keene residents, so the name was changed to The Community Kitchen, Inc.
The Community Kitchen continues to thrive as an organization largely because of the wonderful, dedicated volunteers who give their time, perhaps the most valuable donation of all.
The support of the local community helped and continues to help, guide TCK on its way—
local restaurants and businesses donate food and the Monadnock United Way and cities and towns within Cheshire County give financial support along with the County itself.
After operating out of the churches for many years TCK finally had to admit that the inconvenience of moving every pot and pan around pointed in one direction—they needed a permanent home of their own. In 1994 the building on Mechanic Street was purchased and renovations began. The Pantry and Hot Meals Program began operating fully in their new home in 1998.
The need continues: in 2017 we served 417,264 Cheshire County residents registered in our Pantry Program and helped a further 5,377 people in 1,454 families have a Holiday meal they would not have been able to afford without our help. Through our Hot Meals Program we served 21,444 people a nourishing and healthy meal–which averages to over 1,700 a month.
We operate two programs – the Pantry Program distributes food weekly on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Clients are verified annual by their income and residence. The Hot Meals Program serves a free meal six days a week, an evening meal on weekdays and a lunch on Sundays.
Our Gleaning Project was started in 2013 and has enabled us to partner with other agencies and businesses within Cheshire County. In its 3 years this project has brought over 100,000 lbs. of farm and garden fresh produce into our programs.
We strive to guide our guests and clients to make better food choices and partner with other agencies offering cooking workshops, classes and recipes. As the world changes around us we have to adapt to current needs and demands and can do so only with the continued support of the community around us.
Phoebe Bray, Executive Director
Peggy Higgins, Administrative Manager
Matt Wiltanger, Hot Meals Program Mgr.
Meighan Driscoll, Pantry Manager
Margaret Ioannou, Hot Meals Prog. Vol. Coordinator
Andrea Halfspring, Receptionist/Pantry Vol. Coordinator
Sarah Harpster, Gleaning Coordinator
Board of Directors
We are a team of dedicated professionals from all walks of life, ready to do what ever it takes to feed our neighbors in need.