Philadelphia chefs give back with hearty meals for the homeless

Matteo Iadonisi Image
Monday, March 20, 2023
Philadelphia chefs give back with hearty meals for the homeless
Chef Donald Williams knows what it's like to be homeless. That's why he puts his heart into feeding those in need at Broad Street Ministry.

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "I've been homeless myself, so I know what it is to not be able to have a meal," said Chef Donald Williams. "And that's what brought me to Broad Street Ministry. It's a match made in heaven for me."

Williams, who once helped his grandmother cook for the local church community, is now the culinary director at Broad Street Ministry. The organization helps city residents by offering meals, social services, hygiene products, and more. They also offer clothing and mail services under the mantra of "radical hospitality."

The iconic church sanctuary-turned dining hall fills up five days a week. Chefs like Williams do most of the cooking year-round, but with the Kitchen Takeover series, chefs from popular restaurants around the city come to lend their time and talents. The goal is to expose guests to the flavorful dining variety of Philadelphia, which is otherwise beyond reach.

This time, the kitchen was taken over by Matt Budenstein from Liberty Kitchen in the Fishtown/South Kensington area. It was his first time seeing the dining hall.

"It almost brought a tear to my eye, how special they make it for the guests because they deserve it," said Budenstein. "They deserve to you know, have a restaurant experience."

One of those dining guests was Raymond Collins, who grew up in North Philadelphia and has been visiting Broad Street Ministry for about three years. He worked in the hotel business before the pandemic cut him off from employment.

"It gives you a little bit of a cushion, you know," said Collins about coming to Broad Street Ministry. "This is one thing that I don't have to worry about. I know that I can get a meal."

Broad Street Ministry always encourages donations and volunteerism to keep their mission going. To learn more, visit their website.

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