Volunteers at NourishKC prepare to dish up over 3,000 meals today for clients that will eat in and carry out a full Thanksgiving meal.

For the first time in almost twenty months, NourishKC will be reopening its dining room in the Kansas City Community Kitchen, located at 750 The Paseo to guests on Thanksgiving Day.

“I think one thing that our guests really have missed in the 20 months that the dining room is closed, was having the opportunity to come and sit and be with people who they know care about that human interaction,” said Nourish KC Executive Director Sue Fenske. “It’s so so important for everyone, and you know, our guests are excited, our volunteers have been after us for weeks. When are we going to reopen the dining room and then of course, our staff is over the moon, so yeah, it’s a great day.”

The dining room will be open at 50% capacity at first, gradually expanding service to 100% over the next month, just in time for the upcoming holiday season. Guests will be asked to mask up and wash their hands as they enter the building. Kansas City Community Kitchen will continue to use disposable plates and utensils along with bottled water to continue to decrease COVID exposure. “With weather turning colder, its time to provide a warm, safe place for our guests to enjoy a meal,” Fenske added.

Volunteer Tucker Fenske, Nourish KC Executive Director Sue Fenske, Wallace James and Sean O’Byrne, both with the Downtown Council.

We talked with Raymond who just arrived from Charlotte, NC about two weeks ago. Raymond expressed thanks to prople for simply caring. ” I just lost my son, I’m just thankful somebody cares.”

Another man, Lindsay, was thankful for a hot meal as well as the human interaction. “It’s just good to sit down with other people,” Lindsay said. “Very thankful for this opportunity.”

Fenske noted the dramatic increase in need this year over last. “I don’t think anyone will be surprised to learn that the number of people coming to our doors this year, has grown dramatically,” she said. “In 2020 We did a total of about 87,000 meals by the end of October this year, we were already over 130,000 meals and we’re going to surpass 150,000 meals this year.”

NourishKC Thanksgiving dinner will be served from 11am to 2pm at the KC Community Kitchen located at 750 The Paseo.