Hello there, hard to believe but here I am my friends… not with a new recipe yet ‘cause it is been hard to cook and photograph at the same time. I’ve been in that kind of mode where you eat while cooking, with very short time to breathe in between, still trying to figure where does my time go. I know I am busy but giving a second look, it seems I am not producing a lot.
So, no recipes but I decided to come back anyway and share a project that is very touching to me, the Inspiration Café . In fact, the Café is just a piece of something that started in 1989 with Lisa Nigro and grew into a much bigger organization, the Inspiration Corporation.
I got to know their work in February, through my photojournalism class, and was really moved by their history and mission to increase self-sufficiency, self reliance and dignity in the city of Chicago. Today they provide case management and referrals (for services like healthcare), employment preparation, vocational training, housing and a healthy living for people in need. But it is through the Café, the core of the organization, that more than 3,000 people a year, affected by homelessness and poverty, are getting the chance to experiment the deep significance of what really means to be fed.
The Café provides daily breakfast and dinner four times a week through a restaurant-like setting. Participants in those programs get the right to frequent the place at least eight times a month. But for me, what really stands the restaurant apart from many soup kitchens or meal centers is that out there people are called clients and get, despite the limited menu, the chance to place their own order. Volunteers-waitresses attend requests and guarantee the food is on the table in a proper time.
It is nice to see the kitchen works quite smoothly, without neglecting the tensions and stresses a restaurant kitchen is known for. At the end everyone, employees, volunteers and participants sample what is to be part of a real food service and, in my opinion, ends up outperforming most high end restaurants in a play where food is meant to feed and restaurants to gather.
You can look at some pictures here and check more about their work on their website: http://www.inspirationcorp.org/. Inspire yourself!