every new thing is a beginning


Bea is happy to focus on the present. At 81,she is accentuating the positive.

“I enjoy Paradise,” she said. “I am enjoying God’s present. Every new thing is a beginning.”

She smiles at Tom. “Thank you for serving us.”

 Bea studied piano and ballet in her youth, she said

Bea studied piano and ballet in her youth, she said

The services provided by Miriam’s Kitchen depend on the kindness of friends and strangers alike.

“If we’re serious about our mission, we really can’t do it unless we get a new kind of collaboration,” said Tom.

One of the challenges to collaboration, he said, is that oftentimes people in the private sector don’t know how they can help. But there are plenty of ways to do so. Last year, The Advisory Board Company did some pro bono research for Miriam’s Kitchen.

 Volunteers help prepare dinner at Miriam's Kitchen

Volunteers help prepare dinner at Miriam's Kitchen

Georgetown Cupcakes makes weekly donations. Foggy Bottom Farmers Market donates food they won’t be able to use, as does Trader Joe’s. Individuals and families provide in-kind donations year round.

Because of in-kind donations, Tom said, the cost of meals – 87,000 in total served last year – comes out to about 35 cents per plate. Most of the donations go to services, many of which are provided thanks to the more than 2500 volunteers who give their time.

 Dinner menu at Miriam's Kitchen

Dinner menu at Miriam's Kitchen

Presently, said communications manager Martha Wolf, they are looking for volunteers to help run creative writing groups for Miriam’s Studio.

As she crochets a beanie, Bea talks about her life in North Korea. “I studied cosmetology, I played piano, I did ballet for 20 years.” She encourages people to take classes, sharing that she enjoys swimming and playing tennis. She attends yoga classes at Miriam’s Kitchen once a week.

“I can do anything,” she announces, stretching her leg over her head. Yes, that’s correct, this 81-year-old woman can put her leg over her head.

Bea holds up one finger to make a point.

“Say ‘I can.’”


About the Author: Holly Leber is the editorial director at The Daily Do Good. She is not remotely able to stretch her leg over her head. 


Miriam's Kitchen, Part 2