There is something special about walking through the doors of Miriam’s Kitchen, a leading hunger-relief organization that works to end chronic homelessness in Washington D.C. The smells wafting from the kitchen of freshly cooked meals, and the hustle and bustle in the dining room demonstrate their commitment to dignity, belonging, and making real change in the community. The passion for cooking delicious meals radiates from head chef, Emily Hagel. She believes that serving homeless residents meals made from scratch is empowering and can “change lives.”
Hagel adds, “Eating is a basic human need, right alongside water and shelter. And when food is prepared with care, it is transformative.” To help Hagel cut costs and ensuring that their food is of high nutritional quality, the Wide Net Project donates blue catfish to Miriam’s Kitchen with the help of My Organic Market (MOMs), a natural foods grocery chain across the mid-Atlantic. Typically for every pound sold of WNP blue catfish sold, one portion is donated by WNP to a community hunger-relief agency such as Miriam’s Kitchen. But MOMs goes above and beyond and doubles that. They make no profit on the sale of this fish and instead double the donation. For every pound sold at a MOMs location, a half a pound of fish is donated to feed our neighbors in need.
The most recent donation of blue catfish was transformed into a Po' boy, breaded with panko and cornmeal, oven “fried,” and served on a soft baguette with corn salsa, pickled okra, roasted poblano-garlic aioli, and local heirloom tomatoes,” Hagel explained. While the menu sounds potentially expensive due to its sophistication, Chef Hagel is very conscious of her price per meal. Donations such as the blue catfish allow her to prepare restaurant-quality meals using local ingredients — while ensuring she stays within budget. Miriam’s Kitchen serves 150-175 guests in their dining room every weeknight for dinner daily, and each meal costs Miriam’s Kitchen under $0.45 on average.
This donation could not have been possible without MOMs purchase of blue catfish. Chris Miller, MOMs’ Regional Coordinator for Produce, Meat, and Seafood, buys blue catfish through the Wide Net Project because it “fulfills our company’s purpose to protect and restore the environment while also supporting the cause of food access.” Thank you to MOMs for facilitating the donation of nutritious blue catfish so that Miriam’s Kitchen can continue to fight chronic homelessness and hunger in our nation’s capital.
This post was written by Haley Baron, WNP's go-to for outreach and communications.