Thelma's Kitchen

Have Lunch On Me, KC!

Did you know that 15.6 million U.S. households were food insecure at some time during 2016? Or that 17.2% of the population in Jackson County, Missouri, is food-insecure? That’s about 117,270 individuals right in our own backyard.

Agforce delivers food and beverage shipments coast-to-coast every day of the year, but we wanted to make sure we were doing our part to get healthy food to those who need it right here at home, too.

So Agforce sponsored Lunch On Me KC at Thelma’s Kitchen, Kansas City’s first and only donate-what-you-can café.

Thelma’s Kitchen, a non-profit funded by Reconciliation Services in partnership with the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City and Village Presbyterian Church, exists to meet the very real need our area has for access to affordable food with dignity. “When we serve together and sit and share a meal together,” the website says, “we begin to understand what it means to be community.”

A cross-departmental group of Agforce employees – plus some of our amazing customers and vendors – joined Thelma’s vibrant community last Friday, June 21. We spent three hours serving healthy, local, seasonal lunch to Thelma’s Kitchen customers.

“At Agforce, we’ve always felt like more than just coworkers, customers and contractors. We’re a community in and of ourselves. So it was wonderful to take that sense of community and apply it to something greater,” said Jennifer Whitson, Marketing Manager.

Here’s how the donate-what-you-can café works: like the name implies, guests donate what they are able for a meal that includes soup, salad, entree, beverage and dessert.

Thelma’s Kitchen suggests a $10 donation for a large plate and $7 for a small plate, but no customers get turned away. If guests are unable to afford a $2 minimum donation, they can volunteer 30 minutes of time in the restaurant in exchange for lunch.

“So many Kansas City chefs, farms and food providers – not to mention all Thelma’s guests and volunteers – partner to make this initiative a reality. We were honored to be part of it,” said Pat Lawhon, Strategic Sales & Partnerships.

On the day we spent at Thelma’s Kitchen, the menu included broccoli cheese and Italian sausage soups, meatloaf with mashed potatoes, veggie burgers and Reuben paninis.

“One of the best things about Thelma’s Kitchen is that it’s volunteer-run,” said Michael Preisinger, Managing Director. “So I’d like to challenge our Kansas City-based customers, vendors and peers to volunteer and sponsor a lunch of their own. Together, we can work to build a better community.”

Are you up to the challenge? Learn more about how you can sponsor a lunch and/or volunteer at www.thelmaskitchen.org.