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Chefs and caterers join up to prepare hot meals for Southeast Ward residents

The Southside Community Food Project, funded by a grant from the Winston-Salem Foundation and managed through The Enterprise Center’s shared-use kitchen, has provided nearly 5,000 freshly prepared meals to people in southeast Winston-Salem.

Chefs and caterers join up to prepare hot meals for Southeast Ward residents
March 04
10:00 2021

By Patricia Degraffinreaidt 

On a recent cold Tuesday afternoon, Crystal and Ham (not their real names) walked hurriedly around the corner from Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive to Wilbur Street to  Exodus United Baptist Church. Crystal exclaimed, “We found you!” 

The two homeless individuals were looking for the free hot meals that were previously being given out in the  Sprague Street area from the front yard of Cornerstone of Faith Ministries located on Urban Street. The free meal distribution site moved from Cornerstone of Faith to Exodus Baptist Church, 2000 Wilbur St., on Feb. 1. Crystal said she and Ham had been looking for the  new location for two weeks. According to Crystal, the two sleep outside most of the time and when they find a place to sleep, the food really helps. It has been a real struggle, she says. 

Maury Mills, who walks a little over a mile every Tuesday and Friday to get food for his  grandmother and neighbors, says, “All good things come to an end soon, but I hate to see this hot food project stop.” Mills added that a lot of the community needs it, but are unable physically to leave home to get food. So, he takes the food to them.  

For the past three months, The Southside Community Food Project, funded by a grant from the Winston-Salem Foundation and managed through The Enterprise Center’s shared-use kitchen, has provided nearly 5,000 freshly prepared meals to people in southeast Winston-Salem. The community food project started Tuesday, Dec. 1, and stopped serving hot lunches on  Friday, Feb. 26. Pre-boxed nonperishable community food distributions are planned for March through The Enterprise Center’s shared-use kitchen. 

Three neighborhood associations in the Southeast Ward participated in the free meal giveaway project. The Waughtown Street, Martin Luther King, Jr Drive, and Sprague Street communities were served through the Southeast Neighborhood Association (SENA), the Easton Neighborhood Association, and the Morningside and Reynolds Park Association. 

Chefs Shirley Hayes George, Demetrius Rolle and Yvonne Shipwith have cooked the healthy warm lunches from scratch twice a week since the start of the project in December in the shared-use kitchen. Everyone who has enjoyed the lunches touts the healthy goodness of the dishes.  

Kanika Brown of the Morningside and Reynolds Park Association praised the shared-use kitchen chefs, saying the amazing meals were always hot, never late, and delicious. She added that there were no complaints, only praise and thankfulness from the individuals receiving the food. Bishop Grosjean L. Stephens and Pastor Debra Terry Stephens lead Cornerstone of Faith Ministries, one of the initial food distribution sites. Both raved about the positive impact the  program had on the Belview neighborhood and surrounding area. 

Telissa Ward, The Enterprise Center shared-use kitchen manager, says the Southside Community Food Project brought the kitchen chefs and caterers together to prepare meals for the local neighborhoods, plus gave food entrepreneurs work during COVID-19. Ward added that throughout the unprecedented pandemic, “the goal has been to bring culinary entrepreneurs together and serve in one capacity – to provide healthy food options and resources to food insecure neighborhoods.”  

When the pandemic hit in March 2020, The Enterprise shared-use kitchen had the opportunity to collaborate with The Ministers’ Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity, Love Out Loud, and the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC, to provide hot meals to 15 distribution sites throughout the city of Winston Salem. The kitchen tenants came together to prepare 1,500 to 1,700 weekly hot meals. The eight-month project served an estimated 40,000 meals to communities throughout the city. 

Ward wants to continue to connect and look for other opportunities to serve within this scope. If there are any organizations that look to sponsor food-related projects, please contact Telissa Ward, The Enterprise Center shared-use kitchen coordinator, by email: sgatkinscdc7@nullgmail.com. 

Patricia Degraffinreaidt is the manager of the conference and events center at The Enterprise Center.

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