Advocacy + Outreach · June 16, 2022

It Begins at the Table

Fifth Avenue’s mission is to be the Light, Leaven & Salt of New York City and beyond. More often than not, this work begins at a table.

Seven days a week, the Fifth Avenue kitchen is in full operation, preparing nourishing meals for a bounty of tables.

Every Monday and Wednesday, scores of hot lunches are made for the homeless who visit our street ministry, A Place at the Table. On Saturdays, healthy meals for shut-ins are prepared and delivered by our Meals on Heels team. Every Sunday, throughout the church house, hot coffee, cookies, and sometimes even lunch are prepared to welcome members, visitors, and gaggles of eager children to tables of fellowship.

“Food brings people together and this is always our goal.” smiles Rodrigo Rosas. Fifth Avenue’s resident food coordinator and owner of ROXO Events. “We are not just serving lunches outside, we are creating a welcoming environment for all of our groups.”

Even during the darkest days of the pandemic, the kitchen remained in full operation. As Fifth Avenue extended care to midtown’s homeless and hungry, it increased its output to address rising levels of hunger in New York City.

It was during this time that the age, disrepair and limitations of the current kitchen equipment began to impact the work of food ministries. With most of the appliances dating back more than thirty years, volunteers began to be hampered during large-scale meal preparations. 

Trustee Bob Henn has been a Saturday Meals on Heels volunteer for more than ten years. He said that the aged equipment has become challenging, and that meals are often organized to accommodate appliances that are not functioning well.  “We know we will be working more effectively once new equipment is installed.”

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Bob chairs the Fifth Avenue Property Committee and is part of the Kitchen Renovation Team that developed a plan for the kitchen to receive repairs and updates.  The Renovation Team reviewed bids for the work and recommended the lowest bid from a contractor with an excellent track record of completing this sort of project on time with superb results. The Property Committee and Trustees approved that recommendation. 

“We will make critical electrical and plumbing repairs both above the ceiling and below the floor of the kitchen,” says Bob. “We will install a new fire suppression system and we will install safety flooring throughout the kitchen. Poorly functioning appliances and those near the end of their useful lives will be replaced with new commercial grade appliances necessary for the ongoing work of our food ministries.”

The Fifth Avenue Kitchen Campaign has launched a fundraising effort to achieve the $520,000 goal that is needed to update the space. Through anonymous donations, almost half of the goal has been achieved, Senior Pastor Scott Black Johnston hopes that everyone will participate in this fundraising effort for the future of the church. Thank you for helping us achieve our goal!

Look for more information on Sunday, June 19 to contribute to the Fifth Avenue Kitchen Campaign.