Thursday, July 19, 2007

Requiem: Gods's Katrina Kitchen RIP

On July 31, 2007, God's Katrina Kitchen will serve its last meal, and cease operations on August 1. The Long Beach city council met last Tuesday and denied our request to share a 10-acre site with a local church. Numerous other offers of property to move to have been received, but none of them included political support from the surrounding community and city.

Although GKK will no longer exist, the need and the mission continue. Current plans are to parcel out all of the donated equipment and bunkhouses to one or more ministries here on the Gulf Coast. There are more than 20 permanent volunteer staff associated with the Kitchen, but none of them have heard a call to stop ministering to the Gulf Coast. It is likely that most of them will continue to serve God's call, but under a local ministry with a different name.

Church Army Gulf Coast will continue to operate under the same name. We now have three volunteer residents of the NoAH program seeking to transform their lives from homelessness and alcohol/drug addiction into what God would have them to be. Our residential location as of August 1 is still uncertain.

Here I offer a photo requiem for God's Katrina Kitchen:

This composite overview photo was taken from the balcony of the concrete apartment building, shortly after GKK moved onto the site at 554 Camp Avenue in Gulfport, Mississippi. The following photos show the many improvements made to our home in the succeeding months.


Members of the public who come to eat at the kitchen enter across a flowered garden with a picket fence.

James planted a rose garden to grace the lawn beside the tent, and the owners of the property brought additional roses to plant last fall.

The south end of the lawn has the Cross and flagpole transplanted from the former site in Pass Christian,

and another flower garden graces the south edge of the slab on which the tent sits.

Okra thrives at the east edge of the slab.

Throughout the site, de- construction has already begun. Here is a trench opened up to prepare for the removal of the conduit and wires.

A massive power grid supports the tent, office, cabins, motor homes, and travel trailers that serve the Kitchen.

The power grid supports this laundry room, while wastewater drainage is routed through the sewer systems of the existing slabs, the only remains of a 120-unit apartment complex.

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Cabin 88 is the residence of Tool Room John. This palm was transplanted here to grace the volunteer housing area.

North and south views of volunteer housing in the interior of the camp,

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and the housing that faces the street.
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This new neighbor is missing from the overview photo at the top, when the Waffle House site was an empty slab.
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The fire pit is the late-night gathering place for the permanent staff. We sang to the Lord here this Monday and Tuesday.
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Between the trailers near the fire pit is the Kid Parking Lot.
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. And here is Mary Giles with two of the Giles grand-kids.
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The sunflower garden runs up to a massive pokeweed plant. So far, none of us have tried to cook any pokeweed.
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James' and Mary's front porch features a porch swing,
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facing the vegetable garden with its tomatoes and peppers.
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So now it's story time. Come August 1, God's Katrina Kitchen may seem like it continues only in the stories that will be told and retold, to grandkids of grandkids. But look closer: you may find that the work of the Kitchen never ceased, indeed never missed a beat. Stay tuned.

6 comments:

Rolin said...

Photo Credit: The source for the top overview photo is the website for God's Katrina Kitchen, where it is posted as two seperate photos side by side. I sent these to my brother Roger who painstakingly stitched them together and adjusted the color balances so they would match. Thanks, Bro!

ern malcolm said...

What a powerful story. My perception in reading the story is this ministry can't be ending. Of course it will live on in the workers and those who have felt the love of God in receiving asistance. But I wonder like the mythical phoenix, it will rise again from the ashes.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Rolin.

I doubt you remember me, but we met when I was down in God's Katrina Kitchen in November of 2006.

This is my blog:

http://thenoreaster.wordpress.com

I have written a few things about GKK, which you can find in the category cloud listed under "Katrina & Me". I wasn't there for very long, but the experience changed my life forever.

I hope you'll stop by, Brother.

(I tired posting this comment with my URL, but for some reason Blogger won't let me. So I left the address.)

Mad Stratter said...

I was in Pass Christian for my Spring Break from college in 2006. We ate three meals a day at God's Katrina Kitchen.

I got nostalgic about my time there tonight... and now that I'm thinking about God's Katrina Kitchen, I'm nostalgic about the broccoli salad, too!

I came back (I live in Upstate New York) the following year, April 2007, to see how things we going. A lot needed to be done still then, and I'm sure there's still plenty to do now.

I hope that soon I can make my way back and help to rebuild the land I fell in love with. I miss it more and more everyday.

Sarah said...

hey My husband served there for a bit and I came down with a college group, all before we were married any whoo we both would like to reconnect with mouse and are wondering if you have any contact information for her. my name is Sarah and my husband's name is Richard Ford. we can be reached at sarahrford@gmail.com please put GKK in the subject line. thanks so much

Anonymous said...

My first Mission trip was March, 2005-I was 35 years old-to New Orleans-helping lead a group of college students. After Katrina, we wanted to return to NO spring 2006, but could find no where to stay. The husband of the BCM director at Wallace State (Hanceville, AL) received a letter from First Baptist Long Beach that stated they desparately needed volunteers and had lodging for those volunteers. She contacted FBCLB-who said they never sent a letter like that. long story short, we went, and ate our meals at GKK. God sent that letter to us to put us where we needed to be at that time.