Rainbow Kitchen Community Services Overview
Target demographics: Since 1984, Rainbow Kitchen Community Services has focused on helping individuals and families to cope with inadequate incomes by addressing their immediate needs, offering guidance and support in times of crisis, and providing the basic stepping stones needed to work towards self-sufficiency. Our programs and services benefit children, the elderly, physically and mentally disabled individuals, single-parent families, homeless individuals, the unemployed, and the working poor. Most of our program participants live in Homestead, West Homestead, or Munhall. Among the residents of these communities:
• 35% of families with children live at or below poverty level
• 51% of individuals over age 16 are employed; many of those who are employed work only part-time, or at minimum wage jobs
• 28% of individuals over age 21 are disabled
• almost 50% of households rely on Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Direct beneficiaries per year: RKCS provides assistance to over 1,000 community residents annually through our anti-hunger and case management programs and sup
Geographic areas served: Allegheny County, primarily Homestead, West Homestead, Munhall, West Mifflin and Whitaker
Rainbow Kitchen also operates the Loving Arms Food Pantry, serving 200 low-income elderly and disabled residents of the Homestead Apartments, for whom it would present a significant hardship to attend food distributions at our building. The food is stored and repackaged at Rainbow Kitchen, then transported to the apartment complex for distribution. Participants who are physically able attend the on-site distribution; apartment delivery is provided as needed.
Rainbow Kitchen Community Services is committed to improving the quality of life for low-income families and individuals through programs that address hunger, child nutrition and supportive services.
Rainbow Kitchen’s Anti-Hunger Programs provide a source of nutritious supplemental food for low-income individuals and families:
• The Breakfast Program provides a substantial, nutritious hot meal each weekday morning, serving an average of 60 people per day.
• The Rainbow Kitchen Food Pantry provides a 3-5 day supply of supplemental groceries to an average of 85 low-income households each month. The pantry served 210 registered households last year.
• Rainbow Kitchen also operates the Loving Arms Food Pantry, which serves 160 low-income elderly and disabled residents of a local subsidized apartment complex.
• Kids Cafe®, a program of America’s Second Harvest, is designed to meet the needs of low-income children who are at risk of hunger. Operating in collaboration with area programs serving at-risk youth, Kids Cafe provides participating children with a hot, balanced dinner meal, Monday through Friday, year round. Since the program’s inception in 1995, Rainbow Kitchen has provided well over a half-million meals to needy children. Last year Kids Cafe helped meet the nutritional needs of 140 hungry children.
Case Management services are offered to individuals and families on both a short-term and an extended basis. Immediate/crisis assistance and advocacy are provided as needed, including referral to other social service agencies for additional help. The goal of extended Case Management is to provide ongoing aid to participants as they work towards self-sufficiency.
Rainbow Kitchen Community Services is excited to be partnering with Carnegie Mellon University to bring Strong Women, Strong Girls to our community. Strong Women, Strong Girls is a mentoring program for girls in grades 3 through 5, and is designed to promote self-esteem and the development of skills to help build success, now and throughout life.
Throughout the year, Rainbow Kitchen offers a wide variety of other activities and services to enhance the well-being and quality of life for low-income members of our community, including:
• Winter coat and clothing distribution
• Adopt-a-Family holiday program; holiday gift distribution; turkey certificate distribution
• Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day dinners
• Participation in community events, particularly those targeting youth
• Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program
• Medical Assistance Transportation Program screening and bus ticket distribution
• Food stamp eligibility screening and nutrition education host site
• Host site for educational and informational presentations by other service providers
• Volunteer opportunities, and community service opportunities for youths
2007 was the most successful year yet for our major annual fundraising event, the UPMC Health Plan & Rainbow Kitchen Community Services W.A.R. (Walk And Ride) Against Hunger. The W.A.R. Against Hunger is a walk and bicycle ride event which also promotes healthy lifestyle choices.
Rainbow Kitchen Community Services is honored to be selected as a Champion in Action by Citizens Bank and WPXI-TV, in recognition of our anti-hunger programming and services.
Rainbow Kitchen was proud to be chosen as the 2006 Steel Valley Chamber of Commerce Organization of the Year.
In 1998, following a successful capital campaign, Rainbow Kitchen purchased, renovated, and relocated to a larger facility, which was designed for improved food storage, preparation, and distribution capacity; increased ability to provide case management and related services in a confidential setting; a more pleasant dining environment; and sufficient space to host community meetings, as well as to accommodate the many additional services we provide.