Big Kitchen Soup Kitchen of Marietta Celebrates Third Anniversary

9 Jan
Pam Lightburn, Melanie, Jackie Williams and Robin

Pam Lightburn, Melanie, Jackie Williams and Robin

Big Kitchen Celebrates Third Anniversary September 4th, 2011


It’s two o’clock on a hot Sunday afternoon and the 40 person deep line at the ‘Big Kitchen’ soup kitchen is growing.  Near the front waiting for some homemade fried chicken and gravy are Frank, Annette, Joan and Nick. Frank was one of Big Kitchen’s first customers yet Annette has only been coming for about 6 months, “I live in the neighborhood, but I never thought I would be here, but one day I started having to. We are so blessed to have this food. This has been nothing but God given and I am glad for it.” Joan who also has been coming for six months agreed, “The food is excellent”. Every Sunday between 30 and 90 needy or homeless people are served. “I try to bring the mommas with children back here to pantry and stock ‘em up with some groceries when we can” says Jackie Williams, Big Kitchen director.

When asked about the beginning days, Jackie describes the kitchen when Marietta Christian church (MCC) first purchased their complex one mile south from North River (NR), “You should have seen it, it was piled high to the ceiling with stuff and the back door was completely blocked. So we started clearing it out.” Once a somewhat functioning kitchen emerged, Jackie approached the MCC leaders, “I’m a cook and you got a kitchen. I told ‘em you won’t have to do anything.” She was well suited for the job as a former Food Specialist in the Army for twenty years. Jackie’s friend and right hand Pam Lightburn was on board from the beginning, “I told her if you do the cooking, I’ll do the grunt work…and its funny, when we go to Jackie’s house it’s the same, she’s doing the cooking and we are cleaning up behind her.” Pam laughs, “It’s been great and we have learned a lot along the way.”

So on September 4, 2008 they opened their doors and served their first meal to four homeless people and one homeless cat. The Pilcher family later adopted the kitty.  Jackie recalls those first few months, “I would drive around and flyer the poles in the neighborhood and stop homeless people walking around and ask them to come on down for a free meal. Later when North River got involved more people came on board to help”.  Today NR donates every month as part of its benevolence contribution in addition to regular volunteering.

Michael Kodinsky, commented on their first experience at the Big Kitchen. “We are living out a dream serving as a family here today. It’s really busy, kind of like being on some Food Network reality show. I am impressed how everything is cooked from scratch, no shortcuts. Food is made the real way”. Meanwhile, Michael’s boys helped blend up the potatoes and butter with a hand beater.  Also volunteering that afternoon was Roy and Esther Soberanis of MCC, who have been coming for three years with their children, “It teaches the kids how to serve and to be grateful for what they have”.  Big Kitchen uses between 10 and 30 volunteers every Sunday.

This Sunday Sept 4th , 2011 is the Big Kitchen’s third anniversary and Jackie is grateful and humble for all of the support thus far. With North River’s help and others they have nearly finished the process of becoming part of the Atlanta Food Bank. When asked about her vision for the future she smiles, “I would love do even more than feed the homeless I want us to serve the community, maybe start a Boys and Girls club to just provide guidance and support to the area families”. Then tearing up Jackie finishes with, “Its hard work here, but you can’t ignore God’s call”.

At 2:45 the gravy is finally ready, Jackie asks Michael to pray. Everyone lets out a loud amen and someone turns on a boombox, “Baby Love” by the Supremes starts the meal.

The Big Kitchen Soup Kitchen is located at 285 Victory Drive, Marietta, GA 30060  and is currently serving every Wednesday around 5:30pm

Come on by if you need a delicious meal! 

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