Blog Post

Reflecting on 40 Years

Reflecting on 40 Years

It’s hard to believe it’s been 40 years.

On Palm Sunday in 1983, Sister Lorraine Biebel took $50 and turned it into meals for homeless and hungry people in our community. The Kitchen has continued to grow from that day—through the vision and dedication of Sister Lorraine and the many blessings we receive from the community.

Read more about our history of compassion in action.

Sister Lorraine was a force for good in Springfield. She saw the need and worked tirelessly to meet it. I first met Sister when I volunteered at The Kitchen in high school. As part of 4-H and FFA, I spent a lot of time serving food at The Missouri Hotel.

This was my first experience working with people who were homeless, and it had a profound impact on me. It’s one thing to know that folks in the world are struggling; it’s another thing entirely to meet with folks who are struggling and see their hardship firsthand.

As a senior at Drury University, I found my way back to The Kitchen as an intern for a 5K fundraiser. This is where I really got to know Sister Lorraine. What a force! To be honest, I was a little afraid of her—mostly afraid to disappoint her.

Philippians 27:17 comes to mind, “just as iron sharpens iron, one friend sharpens another.” Sister sharpened me to better give of myself and serve others in need. I know many others were sharpened by her too. I feel blessed to have met Sister Lorraine—and even more blessed to still be a part of the incredible legacy she created at The Kitchen.

To celebrate The Kitchen’s 40th Anniversary, we want to hear from you! Send us your stories of Sister Lorraine and The Kitchen.

We want to hear what inspires you to help our neighbors in need. We’ll share stories of Sister Lorraine and The Kitchen’s long history all year as we celebrate The Kitchen’s 40th Anniversary. Please write to us or email us with your stories.

One of the best things about working at The Kitchen is hearing from folks who were impacted by The Kitchen and Sister Lorraine.

We hear from folks who grew up in the Missouri Hotel—folks who would have slept outside or been separated from their families without the sanctuary offered at The Missouri Hotel.

We also hear from former Rare Breed youth—young people who had nowhere else to turn. They talk about how much it meant to have staff who listened, cared, and pushed them in the right direction.

Some of the best stories are the ones we don’t hear. I know we’ve done a good job when a family doesn’t need us anymore. It means we’ve provided the right tools and the right support to get them back on their feet.

We couldn’t do it without you. Support from community members like you makes it possible for more folks to leave homelessness in their past.

Thank you for serving as a lifeline and helping others when they have nowhere else to turn. I am blessed to work with incredible people like you each and every day, and I appreciate all the help that you provide.

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