TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Changing lives one meal at a time. That's the goal of Caridad Kitchen, a program of the Community Food Bank.
“In a typical meal, there's a sandwich, a burrito. We'll have some snacks, some chips, a Slim Jim,” said Caridad Kitchen’s Community Programs Specialist, Denielle Sillik.
Around 12,000 meals go out in a month to anyone in need of food.
“We also give a bag with a Gatorade and a few bottles of water,” added Sillik.
The items go out to those experiencing homelessness but Caridad Kitchen is also seeing more families and individuals come through.
“Previously we've had the same guests on a regular basis and we still have those but we've seen quite a few new people. People from different states,” said Sillik.
Now they are trying to offer even more help by extending their hours.
“Previously, we served from 3 to 4 and we're now serving from 2 to 4. We have seen an increased need during the pandemic,” Sillik said.
That extra hour, Monday through Friday, could make a big impact.
“We typically see probably about 70-80 people through a meal service and in an hour it was really hard to get everyone through. So, with the extended time, we can actually get to know our guests, take time to ask how they are,” Sillik said.
And more time to find out what other resources people may need. “We partner with other agencies. So, we have been able to give them information on housing, shelters, clothing other food pantries.">
If you need a meal, you can stop by, no questions asked.
“There's no ID needed. There's no information needed. If you come up, we'll give you food, drinks, any extra items we have. There's no barriers to receiving a meal here,” Sillik said.
Caridad Kitchen works across Tucson with numbers groups to offer a helping hand and even a hot meal once a week.
“We do hot meals on Friday. People all week are asking, is it Friday yet? What are you having? They are super excited for that but we have a lot of people coming through thanking us. They are extremely grateful for what we're providing to them,” said Sillik.
Caridad Kitchen is located off Main and Speedway. Click here for a list of meal sites and food pantries.