welcome to miriam's kitchen

 

 A staff member wears a T-shirt with the Miriam's Kitchen motto on the back.

A staff member wears a T-shirt with the Miriam's Kitchen motto on the back.

“Hi,” the man with the bird scarf tied jauntily around his neck says, offering a hearty handshake. “I’m Michael Ford. I’m chronically homeless. I like farting around with collages.”

Michael, and others, can indulge their artistic inclinations at Miriam’s Studio, the twice-daily therapeutic art sessions at Miriam’s Kitchen, in Foggy Bottom.

 The kitchen at Miriam's Kitchen

The kitchen at Miriam's Kitchen

Every day, the staff and volunteers at Miriam’s Kitchen fight to help their neighbors in need. From meals to permanent supportive housing services, the goal is help clients not just survive, but thrive.

Raised as a military brat, Michael, 58 (“I should have said 58 and seven-eighths”) spent most of his adult life in Colorado, where he worked in mechanical maintenance. After losing his job, his home, and being denied disability for benefits for bi-polar disorder, he came to DC in spring of 2014.

 Michael Ford, collagist and Miriam's Kitchen client

Michael Ford, collagist and Miriam's Kitchen client

He first came to Miriam’s Kitchen to get a state ID, he said, and kept coming back. “If they had showers and laundry,” he said, “it’d be the cat’s meow.” 

All services at Miriam’s Kitchen are pro bono; the studio is as anonymous as the client wants it to be.

“If you come in here and you say your name is Jesus, you’re welcome,” said Kate, art therapist and case manager

She described Miriam’s Studio as  “super collaborative, person-centered” and “not too therapy-ish.”

 Setting up for studio time. This is also where meals are served, where case managers meet with clients, and where yoga classes take place.

Setting up for studio time. This is also where meals are served, where case managers meet with clients, and where yoga classes take place.

“This is a place people can chill out and engage in services in a different place. “

“A lot of our guests don’t have their own living room,” said Meg Dominguez, senior case manager. “We view this as a place for our guests to hang out and be.” Continue to Part 2

 

About the Author: Holly Leber is the editorial director at The Daily Do Good. As a teenager, she volunteered at a soup kitchen, where she used her bus tokens to buy poetry from one of the guests, a paranoid schizophrenic Holocaust survivor.

                                       Miriam's Kitchen, Part 2