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Free Restaurant purchases Center Pointe to serve more

The Women & Children’s Free Restaurant and Community Kitchen (WCFR) has purchased the Center Pointe building at 1408 N. Washington to increase its services.  It has brought in more than $800,000 of its $1.8 million capital campaign goal.

The restaurant will continue at its present location until it has another $400,000 to complete renovating and equipping the kitchen.  Then they can move out of the church basement.

That location is less than a mile southeast of its current location in the basement of 1620 N. Monroe St., now Christ Our Hope Bible Church, formerly St. Paul United Methodist Church.  It has been there for 26 years.

Angela Moffat, marketing manager for WCFR, said that in the new location cooks will be able to make 48 pans of lasagna at one time, compared to 14 now.  Dining space will double.

“We will be able to build efficiencies and up-to-date equipment into the kitchen that we lack in our church basement location,” she said.

The new location will also allow the restaurant to rent space to other nonprofits to help cover operating costs.

The restaurant serves dinners from 3 to 6 p.m., Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and lunch form 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Fridays, but its kitchen is in operation Monday through Friday preparing meals for distribution through other programs. 

It prepares meals for children at Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery to take home, and family style meals for Hope House and St. Margaret’s Shelter, and meals for people served by the YWCA’s Women’s Opportunity Center, Family Promise, Odyssey Youth Center, Peaceful Valley After School Program, Breakfast for the Homeless and Feed Cheney, Angela said.

“We served more than 43,926 meals in 2013 through our restaurant, the Nutrition-to-Go partner agencies and community Thanksgiving dinner.  From 100 to 250 come to dinners and lunches at the restaurant,” she said, “but just 100 can be seated at one time.”

WCFR relies on food donations from such sources as Huckleberry’s, Main Market, Peirone Produce Co. and Charlie’s Produce, supplying food that they cannot sell.  Second Harvest also supplies food.

To kick off the next phase of the campaign, the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, A Charitable Foundation (S-B Fund), which has granted $50,000, is challenging the community by offering up to $50,000 more as a matching grant.

“Living on minimum and low wages makes it impossible for women to make ends meet,” Angela said. “Obtaining food, shelter and clothing is becoming harder for many in our community. Once the restaurant has moved into its new location it will be able to expand its services, serving more women and children on site, and distribution through other social services organizations.”

WCFR has a pool of more than 150 volunteers, and expects the need for volunteers will rise with its anticipated increased capacity.

Donations designated to the Women’s and Children’s Free Restaurant and Community Kitchen through or through WCFR directly that mention the S-B Fund will be matched up to $50,000.

For information, call 324-1995 or visit

Copyright © September 2014 - The Fig Tree