The devastation from Hurricane Ida in September displaced more than 436 individuals in 208 households in Montgomery County. YWCA Tri-County Area is one of many community-based organizations working together with Montgomery County to help families recover from the wind and water damage the storm caused.
YW’s Dignity Kitchen, a social enterprise food service program, is preparing nearly 600 meals per weekday for families displaced by Hurricane Ida. These families, living in hotels or other arrangements while their homes are repaired, receive balanced and nourishing breakfast, lunch and dinner with a focus on fresh fruit and vegetables.
“The County has supported victims of Ida since the day the storm made landfall and our support continues to this day,” said Dr. Valerie A. Arkoosh, chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. “We are extremely grateful to be working hand in hand with our partners to ensure our residents get the food, emergency shelter, and other support they need as they recover.”
Dignity Kitchen Director Sara Anderson and staff prepare and package the meals daily. Another community partner, Share Food Program, supports the emergency meals effort by providing logistics and transportation. Volunteers from Citadel credit union, Owen J. Roberts School District, and The Coventry Lions Club assist with packaging the meals.
“Our team gets involved and is inspired by those we’ve met at Dignity Kitchen. Together, we’re building strength for our neighbors and community – and that makes us proud,” said Edita Bailey, Dual Market Manager at Citadel credit union.
Anderson said Dignity Kitchen will continue to provide meals to Montgomery County families “as long as there is a need. We hope these meals are a source of comfort for those people living in uncertain times away from their homes and regular routines.”
YW’s CEO Stacey Woodland said while the vision for Dignity Kitchen did not include emergency management relief, she and YW are honored to have been included in the recovery efforts in Montgomery County.
“Last year when Montgomery County invested some of its CARES funding in replacing kitchen equipment in the Montgomery County Human Services Center in Norristown, I could never have envisioned how instrumental the Dignity Kitchen would be in supporting the dignity of county residents in a crisis,” Woodland said. “YW is doing incredibly important work in all communities that we serve, and we are thankful for the partnership with Montgomery County that strengthens our impact.”
Dignity Kitchen, renovated in 2020 with Montgomery County’s investing CARES funding, is located in the large commercial kitchen space at the county’s Human Services Center. Dignity Kitchen trains adults for careers in culinary arts while operating a café for workers and visitors at the Human Services Center and providing Home Delivered Meals to qualified residents of Montgomery County. Dignity Kitchen is a Catalyst Kitchen member offering empowerment through food service training, sustainability through social enterprise, and community engagement through food service and hunger relief.
Any questions or for more information, please email: DignityKitchen@ywcatricountyarea.org