COMMUNITY: Martha's Kitchen staff serve thousands of meals to those in need

2020 - Martha's Kitchen - web

The San Jose Earthquakes and Wells Fargo are humbled and inspired by the amazing work of our frontline communities and neighbors in this time of crisis. Each week, we’ll be featuring and highlighting the work of one fantastic neighborhood hero, showcasing the great work they are doing and the organizations our community can rally around.

Additionally, a donation will be made to an organization or community project on behalf of each week’s hero. This week we will be donating to Martha’s Kitchen. 

Martha’s Kitchen provides meals with dignity
Since its inception in 1981, Martha’s Kitchen has served 4.5 million meals to those in need. Martha’s Kitchen started as a hot meal program out of a local church in between San Jose and Willow Glen, and transformed into a community staple feeding thousands on a weekly basis. 

Today, Martha’s Kitchen serves roughly 600,000 meals annually. Since COVID-19, there has been a 70% increase in meal demand. 

Bill Lee, Executive Director of Martha’s Kitchen, has been working around the clock to provide “meals with dignity” to community members in need. 

Bill works 7 days a week, overseeing everything from fundraising to operations to permits. He works with a staff of 10 full-time employees and dozens of volunteers. 

“The number of homeless on the street has exploded,” says Bill. The staff at Martha’s Kitchen have been addressing this by producing an additional 1,000 meals per day due to COVID-19.

“The more visibility you have on a problem, the better chance you have at fixing it,” says Bill.

Before COVID-19, Martha’s Kitchen received donations mostly from the Second Harvest Food Bank, as well as large caterers and grocery stores. Since then, they’ve had to hire two more full-time employees to keep up with demand, requiring more food to be cooked in-house. In addition to hot meals, they are producing up to 5,000 sandwiches a week. 

Martha’s Kitchen prides themselves on serving delicious, complete meals that they would pay to eat. “Every one of our meals has protein, a fruit, a vegetable, a starch, and a sweet treat,” says Bill. 

Now more than ever, the Martha’s Kitchen team has served the community with kindness and compassion, adhering to their philosophy of “Feeding the hungry with dignity; no questions asked and no judgements made.”

Martha’s Kitchen has partnered with over 60 organizations around Santa Clara County to maximize their meal distribution. They also have established meal distribution sites in six Bay Area counties. 

One of the ways to get involved and make a difference is by volunteering. Helping provide meals to those in need is an enriching experience for everyone involved. “When I talk to our partners and hear their individual stories, it's really moving,” says Bill.

To donate to Martha’s Kitchen or learn about how to get involved, visit the Martha’s Kitchen website.