Compassion in Action: Our History


Sr. Lorraine Serves the First Meal

On Palm Sunday, Sister Lorraine Biebel took $50 and turned it into meals for the homeless. She served 39 people from the St. Agnes Grade School cafeteria. The soup kitchen soon moved to the Missouri Hotel Grill on Commercial Street.


The Missouri Hotel Opens as Shelter

Sr. Lorraine leased The Missouri Hotel as a shelter for folks experiencing homelessness. GED/ABE classes were held for residents.


The Medical Clinic Starts

A mobile medical clinic was started with nurses one day a week and doctors one day a month at The Missouri Hotel.


Franciscan Villa Opens for Affordable Housing

The original St. John’s Hospital is purchased. Patient rooms are converted into apartments for elderly, disabled, and formerly homeless residents.


Family Nurturing Center

From the beginning, The Kitchen provided care for children living in the Missouri Hotel. In 1992, the Family Nurturing Center was formalized with it’s own building. The Center served infants through school-age children living in the Missouri Hotel.


The Kitchen Celebrates 10 Years

The Kitchen Celebrates 10 Years. The Medical Clinic moves to the Morton Building. The KIND Place opens as transitional housing. The Fresh Start Program opens as a donation center.


The Kitchen Foundation is Formed

Dedicated supporters formed The Kitchen Foundation to ensure the mission and lasting work of The Kitchen, Inc. continue to serve the homeless in the Springfield community. The Ollis building opens as a second transitional living apartment building.


Comprehensive Case Management

Comprehensive case management and counseling system began with a major HUD grant.


Dental Services Begin

The Medical Clinic begins dental services and addiction treatment. A jobs program begins at The Missouri Hotel.


Homeless Prevention

Homeless Prevention outreach services begin. Katie’s Kitchen opens as a food service training program. An on-site chaplain is hired.


Rare Breed Opens

Rare Breed Youth Outreach Center for homeless and at-risk youth opens on Walnut St.


Sr. Lorraine Retires

Sister Lorraine Retires. Tobias Meeker is hired as CEO.


The Kitchen Celebrates 20 Years

The Rare Breed Transitional Living Program opens on Commercial Street. Renovation of Franciscan Villa begins.


Bill Stalnaker Named CEO

Bill Stalnaker installed as CEO. The Medical Clinic receives a grant from Missouri Foundation for Health to hire one full-time doctor, support staff, renovate the clinic space and improve technology.


Medical Clinic Remodeled

The remodeled clinic opens.


The Kitchen Celebrates 25 Years

Bill Stalnaker retires, and Rorie Orgeron is installed as CEO.


Rapid Rehousing and Homeless Prevention

Services are expanded to provide rapid rehousing and case management and homeless prevention services.


One Door Opens

One Door opens to provide an entry point for many of the services and shelters available in Springfield.


Rare Breed Moves to Main Ave

Rare Breed Youth Services moves to a 10,000 square feet building at 301 N Main Ave.


The Kitchen Celebrates 30 Years

The Kitchen celebrates 30 Years. The Kitchen receives a VA grant to start Home At Last, a program to serve Veterans and their families.


Beacon Village I Opens

Beacon Village I opens as affordable housing for families.


Sister Lorraine Celebrates her 90th Birthday

Sister Lorraine Biebel celebrates her 90th birthday.


Capital Campaign for New Campus Begins

The Kitchen announces plans for a new non-congregate shelter and case management offices.


The Missouri Hotel Closes

The Missouri Hotel closes. Residents move into other shelter and housing properties owned by The Kitchen.


Beacon Village II Opens

Beacon Village II expands affordable housing for families.


McClernon Villas Opens

McClernon Villas opens to provide affordable housing for seniors and Veterans.


Groundbreaking at O’Reilly Family Campus

The Kitchen breaks ground at the new O’Reilly Family Campus, future home of the emergency shelter and Hamra Family Support Services Building.


Meleah Spencer Named CEO

Rorie Orgeron resigns, and Meleah Spencer is installed as CEO. Commercial Street properties are sold.


The Kitchen Celebrates 35 Years

The Kitchen Celebrates 35 years and prepares for the new emergency shelter to open.


New Emergency Shelter Opens

The Emergency Shelter opens on the new campus with 13 apartments for families and individuals. The Kitchen earns accreditation from the Council on Accreditation.


The Hamra Family Support Services building Opens

The Kitchen staff move to The O’Reilly Family Campus, officially leaving the Commercial Street properties.


Groundbreaking for Maplewood Villas

Maplewood Villas will add more affordable housing for seniors and Veterans.


The Kitchen Celebrates 40 Years


Maplewood Villas Opens

In August, Maplewood Villas opened and now offers affordable housing to seniors and Veterans.