(WSYR-TV) — For the last 30 years, the nonprofit Karing Kitchen has worked to meet the needs of the community. Housed in the basement of the Oneida First United Methodist Church, with so many people out of work, the need for Karing Kitchen has never been greater.
“We see people that still haven’t gotten their unemployment a year later, still haven’t gotten their stimulus check a year later,” explained Melissa King, a NewsChannel 9 Remarkable Women Finalist. “Just today, someone came up, ‘Are you open? What’s going on because we need food’.“
All year, King and the volunteers at Karing Kitchen are a lifeline to those who are struggling and work to make families feel like…well, family.
“We’ve done baby showers and different events we’ve done for our guests, are things they’ve never had in their lives and said ‘hey I’m going to do this for you‘,” said King. “But you see a lot of heartbreak too. I do, but due to Covid, I’ve seen the worst of the worst, um, that part is hard, but I still believe there’s hope and no matter how bad the situation is, we’re going to figure it out.”
The pandemic has been difficult on everyone but for older adults, the burden of isolation and uncertainty has been hard to bear. And so Karing Kitchen has found ways to help.
“Our schools actually made valentines for our seniors this year. We collected warm socks for them as well and we just have a bunch of different stuff and we’re able to incorporate stuff from the food bank as well, so being able to incorporate some of that meat., as you can see our Food Box Farm to Families, that’s huge to be able to incorporate that for our seniors who are still struggling.”
King says she hears from people all the time, “‘I don’t know how I would get through if I wasn’t able to get the food you’re helping us get.’ A lot of them are scared to go out. So even when they do go out or when they get someone to go out, they’re not picking up enough food, because they have limited resources.”
King and her volunteers help families navigate the system, provide friendship, comfort and food, and raise awareness for the homeless in the community. It’s all part of the mission.
Hear more of King’s story and the stories of our other Remarkable Women Finalists on NewsChannel 9. Our special will air on April 1 at 7 p.m. We’ll reveal our local Remarkable Woman of the Year, who will then qualify to be named Nexstar Media Group’s National Woman of the Year.