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Saturday, Apr. 3 Update

One of the special treats we had to offer this week thanks to a kind volunteer were mini sweet potato pies from the The Avenue Bakery, located about halfway between Penn North and MICA. I wasn’t aware of this place before but I plan to visit asap. It is a Black-owned business opened in 2011 by an entrepreneur dedicated to the restoration of Penn North as a historic Black arts and theater district. His bakery is well-known for his special fluffy yeast rolls, based on his grandmother’s recipe, as well as for hosting in-store events featuring local artists and musicians. I learn more about the rich past and present of Penn North each week, and am ashamed to realize how little I knew about the neighborhood before, even though it’s 10 minutes from my home.

It was lovely to have such an array of items to offer this week, from toiletry kits to bag lunches to lots of snacks and Easter treats. Clementines and bananas are hugely popular and I try to always have a supply on hand. One guest came back for seconds on my red beans and rice because it was “so good” - compliments on our cooking always make us cheer. Nothing feels better than knowing that we haven’t just eased someone’s hunger, but we’ve given them some comfort and pleasure at the same time. I always say, “I made that for you in my kitchen this morning” when someone praises the cornbread and they always look a little surprised. But that’s our core mission - to feed people the same food we feed our friends and family, and with the same warmth and love.

Stats: 32 servings of red beans and rice and cornbread, 2 gallons of hot coffee, and 48 bottles of water. We handed out 40+ bag lunches and 40+ wellness kits too.

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