FOOD, FRIENDS AND FELLOWSHIP
A Message from Executive Director La Manda Broyles
AUGUST 2022 NEWSLETTER
When you think about it, a lot of our best memories are centered around sharing a meal with others. Almost everyone has a favorite food or a favorite dish, either that they enjoy making because of seeing the enjoyment on peoples’ faces when they share it with them, or maybe it’s a favorite food or dish that holds comforting memories because of a family recipe or tradition. Not only are these meals and memories satisfying to our bodies, they are also ways we can connect through fellowship with others.
At TRM, part of our mission is to feed the hungry. Every meal, every snack we prepare is also prayed over and loved on, because our heart is that once it leaves our kitchen its nourishment continues. Not just nourishment for the physical body, but also nourishment for the spirit - knowing that someone is thinking about you and someone wants to take care of you. If you’ve been the recipient of someone making you a special meal or dish, you know how nourishing it can feel both for your heart and for your soul.
There is significance in Jesus’ final hours spent with his closest people. He could have chosen to spend his final hours doing anything, but he chose to eat with his disciples. To us, the Bible is not just historical stories that have no more meaning in today’s world. They are Biblical stories that we are to use as examples, and when appropriate, apply them in our everyday lives. Knowing that there is power in food nourishing our bodies while engaging in meaningful conversations - the bonding over food, with food - this is still applicable to the world we’re living in today.
At TRM we realize our food services are foundational to our work to bring hope and healing to those in need. Through serving hot meals to our guests and preparing sack lunches for the community in our kitchen, to giving out food boxes to anyone in need at our Distribution Center, to sending our staff into the community to cater events, to establishing our Hospitality Training Center that enables TRM guests to study curriculums and learn culinary skills so that once they graduate, they already have a resume, a certificate and on-the-job training and can be hired by restaurants in the community. So much of what we do has a basis in food, because food is a platform for fellowship, connection, and healing.
This summer we are excited to announce the launch of TRM’s food trailer, a trailer primarily used to bring hot meals to unsheltered individuals and others in need at MAP (Mobile Access Partnership) sites throughout the community. This summer we have teamed with our good friends and neighbors, the NOTO Arts and Entertainment District, to put into action our heart of food, friends and fellowship, launching our food trailer’s first big community effort during NOTO’s Cultural Nights. In addition to raising funds for TRM and NOTO, we are also trying to be a witness in our community by inviting TRM guests to learn job skills by working in our food trailer.
Through feeding people in our community, through engaging and increasing fellowship, and through establishing friendships, our goal is to create nourishment and healing that brings second chances for many people - second chances for employment, for relationships, and for healing and hope - one plate at a time!
Chef Hall, Director of Culinary Arts and Services at TRM, says: “The original plan for the food trailer (bringing meals to those in need at MAP sites) has never changed. Although we've thought outside the box and decided to duel task the trailer by teaming up with NOTO and creating a fundraising opportunity, our mission remains to love the one in front of us and provide healthy meal options to the less fortunate. We have been able to increase our reach with an additional 400 meals a week utilizing the trailer in its original purpose. These are people that would otherwise not have access to a hot meal. Unfortunately we believe we'll see that number double in the next few months.”
Chef Hall continues, “Utilizing the trailer with our partner organizations like NOTO and the growing support from our foodie community, Topeka has truly stepped up and allowed us a way to 'help ourselves’. By supporting our food trailer at public events, you allow us to raise much needed funds to continue our mission in the food service department at TRM. In return you have the opportunity to enjoy some great food!”
We invite you to come visit our food trailer at NOTO's Cultural Nights this summer, and we thank you for your ongoing support of TRM and our many efforts to make sure everyone in our community has access to nutritious, delicious meals. We are grateful every day for your support and encouragement!
DID YOU KNOW?
Did you know that the idea of NOTO was developed in partnership with the artists, business leaders and founders of NOTO coming together with TRM? NOTO’s first development meeting was held at TRM over ten years ago. To this day, TRM and individuals experiencing homelessness have been greatly embraced by the NOTO Arts and Entertainment District. In addition to different art galleries and NOTO businesses providing employment for TRM guests, TRM staff members have served on the NOTO board of directors - including chairman of the board at one time - and TRM has volunteered to help out in a number of different NOTO events. The relationship between TRM and NOTO continues to flourish and we are incredibly grateful for the leadership and opportunities provided by the NOTO community!