History of The Community Kitchen
Summer of 2006 a group of concerned citizens in Canton met at The Colonial Theater to discuss the need for a soup kitchen in eastern Haywood County. Approximately 30 people attended representing churches throughout the community.
Open Door, a ministry of Long’s Chapel UMC, was approached about opening a satellite location but they felt it was more than they could do. However Open Door’s Director Perry Hines helped us by giving us a copy of their by-laws and informing us of how they operated.
A nucleus of 10 people formed the first Board and we began developing our by-laws and application for 501c3 (non-profit) status. The first board members were Alice Fisher (Morning Star UMC), Evelyn Case (Beaverdam UMC), Linda Allison (RBC Bank), Chris Gibson (Pleasant Grove Baptist) Daniel and Marty Haney (Central UMC) Marsha Stalcup (Plains UMC) and Rev. Beverly Brock (Canton Presbyterian).
An attorney donated her time to advise us pro bono, and non-profit status was achieved. Seeking a location began in earnest.
Our first meal was served Thanksgiving Day 2007 at The Main Street Café. There were more volunteers than people to be served.
With no permanent location, The Community Kitchen started started serving meals on the weekends only at Canton Presbyterian’s kitchen and fellowship hall. TCK paid minimal rent to cover costs of utilities. Open Door Ministries paid our first six months rent.
A permanent location was secured at 98 Pisgah Drive, Canton, NC 28716. Formerly the Handee Stop, it was owned by Dot and Walter Wells. Renovations began and the building was dedicated on Oct. 25, 2008.
In 2008 Carol Nickell, retired from the Salvation Army, was hired as the first executive director; she started our annual golf tournament. In 2009, Millie Hershonson was the second executive director; she signed TCK up with Manna Food Bank of Asheville. Beverly Brock was hired as the executive director at the end of 2010. Kim Czaja was hired as the current Executive Director in 2015.
In December of 2015 a blended Interdenominational Church service was started on Sundays at 10:30am. Soon after a Bible Study began on Wednesdays after dinner.
On April 18th, 2016 TCK was truly blessed by God and purchased the 7000sqft property at 394 Pisgah Drive. (The old EZ Stop). Food box distribution began there in June. There is an ongoing Fund drive to raise the money necessary to complete renovations and move the Soup Kitchen.