Feature: Chattanooga Community Kitchen
We’ll be featuring various nonprofits and organizations around the Chattanooga area in the coming weeks to highlight some of the unsung superheroes of our town.
This week, I chatted with David Costellow, the Community Engagement Director at Chattanooga Community Kitchen.
Chattanooga Community Kitchen began over 30 years ago when a group of churches began to collaborate together to tackle hunger and homelessness in Chattanooga. They started by providing one meal a day to those in need, and over the years, the nonprofit has grown to offer a wide range of services.
When asked about a typical day of work, Costellow laughed, saying, “There’s never a typical day.” He spends his time writing newsletters, drafting grant proposals, giving tours, and heading a wide variety of other projects.
The Community Kitchen exists to serve the social, spiritual, and physical needs of Chattanooga’s homeless population. He said the nonprofit is “founded on love and compassion.”
To Costellow, one of the most challenging things about working in this field is seeing the devastating effects of poverty on people’s emotional and mental health.
“Homelessness isn’t a permanent sentence,” Costellow said. “Closed doors play with a person’s mind. It’s as much about the psychological health as the physical health.”
Costellow said that Community Kitchen works to take a multi-faceted approach to serving people. They work to help people gain employment, find affordable housing, and keep encouraged during their time in the programs.
If you’re interested in helping out at the Chattanooga Community Kitchen, there’s plenty of ways to get involved. You can check out their website here to learn more about volunteer opportunities for yourself, your family, or your organization.
The Community Kitchen is especially asking for donations of summertime needs, such as bugspray and sunscreen for those that spend most of their days outdoors.