A regular customer at Maple Street Diner shared his experience of volunteering at the Carroll County Soup Kitchen with Kim Pollard, and she had an idea.
Pollard resolved that she would go to the soup kitchen once a month and cook one of her restaurant’s specialties, teaching the volunteers at the kitchen how to make something new for the beneficiaries.
Pollard said she’s going to go to the soup kitchen Monday morning armed with ingredients to make barbecue chicken, squash casserole and the always popular vegetable soup.
The volunteering regular, Truitt Haynes, is in charge of the menu and budget for the Monday meals at the soup kitchen. He told Pollard that there are a lot of volunteers with kitchen experience, but that not everyone knows how to cook for 75-100 people and make food that’s cheap and tastes good.
“He’s always struggling to find good food items like that,” Pollard said. “He said I could cook and use fresh products to create a bulk meal, one that could be cost-effective and nutritious. I told him I could do that, but why don’t I bring the ingredients to them and teach them how to make it?”
Pollard, who’s been in the restaurant business for 13 years, said she will “do a quick class” for the volunteers, then serve lunch with them. Her contribution will cost nothing for the soup kitchen.
“The older I get, the more I realize that the more you give, the more comes back around,” Pollard said. “I can write it off my taxes, but that’s not why I’m doing it. I just want to do something to pay it forward.”
The Maple Street Diner owner said any budget the soup kitchen saves on Monday can be put to meals on other days, an idea she finds exciting.
Pollard hopes her contribution will create a “domino effect” among other local restaurants.
“I’m hoping that other restaurants will see that it doesn’t cost much and it’s not much of a burden on me, and it can really help people out,” Pollard said. “Even if there were different levels the restaurants could do, like one who just wants to teach them how to make a dessert or something like that. Every little bit helps.”
Pollard said she hopes the departure from the normal menu she can bring to the beneficiaries’ meals will give them something to anticipate in coming weeks.
“I just want to add variety to the things people are eating there,” she said. “A lot of people look forward to having something different. I hope I can bring that to them.”
In December, 1,136 families — or 2,812 individuals — received Christmas boxes of food from the soup kitchen. That’s approximately 47,712 pounds of food, the kitchen’s website says.
Last year, the soup kitchen served more than 10,000 hot lunches, plus more than 45,000 sack lunches being delivered or picked up. That was made possible by more than 3,100 volunteers.
The soup kitchen is open for lunch every Monday and Thursday, and is also open the entire last week of every month.
During the full week the soup kitchen is open, volunteers are needed from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. In addition to hot lunches, sandwiches will also be made for take-out bags. About 35 volunteers are needed for each day that week.
On the Mondays and Thursdays other than the full week, only 10 to 15 volunteers are needed.
The soup kitchen is located on Beulah Church Road in Carrollton.
For more information, call 770-214-5055 or go online to www.carrollcountysoupkitchen.org.