Our mission is to feed and mend lives through food, social services and The Bread of Life.
The NYC Love Kitchen, located in the Inwood neighborhood of Upper Manhattan, serves people in need with freshly cooked meals, an emergency food pantry, and referrals to community services.
Founded by Tom Mahairas, then Pastor of Manhattan Bible Church, and long time Director Jewel Jones, the NYC Love Kitchen opened its doors in December of 1987 through the support of a cadre of dedicated volunteers and donors. Guided by the love and servitude of Jesus, the Kitchen has been generously and humbly feeding the community – both nutritionally and spiritually -- ever since.
Since 1987, the NYC Love Kitchen has been serving the Washington Heights/Inwood neighborhoods of Upper Manhattan from our space on the corner of West 204th St and 9th Avenue. The need for our services is great in our neighborhood. 20% of community residents live below the poverty level, and dozens of families go hungry every day. 72% of our neighborhood is Latino (with a many being non-US citizens) which means that the fear of deportation, lack of education, and insufficient knowledge of English prevent people from being able to get decent jobs, contributing to a cycle of hunger and dependence for themselves and their families.
The NYC Love Kitchen seeks to serve our brothers’ and sisters’ most basic needs through a multi-faceted, yet holistic approach. For over 30 years, the Kitchen has cooked a hot, fresh meal five days a week (Monday through Friday), served from 4:30 to 6:30pm to upwards of 80 elderly, working poor, and homeless who line up outside our door. Food is purchased from food wholesalers and donated by Food Bank For NYC, City Harvest, and Midwest Food Bank.
Our emergency food pantry provides the equivalent of three meals a day for three days for a family of four and serves approximately 400 families each month. The pantry is stocked through donations from Food Bank For NYC, City Harvest, and Midwest Food Bank.
As we get to know our guests and find their needs, we also provide clothing and shoes, referrals to health insurance, and connections to social services.
In addition to our Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry, we've offered:
- Saturday lunches twice a month-educational programs for children and adults such as after-school tutoring and ESL training
- Bible studies and small groups for alcohol and drug rehabilitation
- Food stamp assistance, and referrals for shelters, health insurance, and social services for seniors-Information for interested parties on how to start a Soup Kitchen or Food Pantry
We believe that our mission is most sustainable in the long run if we are able to empower people to lift themselves out of their circumstances, rather than leaving them feeling trapped and dependent on our kitchen for food. We provide support via as many vehicles as possible while balancing limited resources. Several times a year we collect and distribute clothing via drives in the local community; community volunteers, staff, and board members familiar with city agencies provide informal referrals for social services on an as-needed basis.
The Love Kitchen also stands out for its emphasis on the relationship between our volunteers and those being served. In our kitchen, volunteers don’t just spoon food onto a line of trays; the diners sit down, and the volunteers serve them their food, and then sit and eat with them. We’ve had the blessing of seeing people who used to come to be fed eventually becoming volunteers with us, devoting their energy to other people. This is a testament to the empowerment that can result from addressing people’s needs while offering them the fullest measure of respect and dignity.
The Love Kitchen holds various events throughout the year, including a special Thanksgiving Food Distribution, and a Christmas Banquet.
Why do we do these things? We deeply desire to see our neighbors thriving in all areas of life - physically, socially, financially, and spiritually.
We believe God can transform lives. Watch this video to see what God did to bring Jewel Jones, former El Dorados singer, to the NYC Love Kitchen.