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Rainbow Kitchen Community Services

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Human Service Organizations, Human Services

Mission:

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.

Results: Last year, Rainbow Kitchen Community Services provided approximately 7,000 bags of groceries to Food Pantry participants, 15,000 meals to our Breakfast Program participants, and 13,000 Kids Café meals to low-income children at risk of hunger. We provided Case Management and additional supportive services benefiting approximately 1,000 individuals. 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.

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

Programs: The Rainbow Kitchen Food Pantry serves low-income residents of five Steel Valley communities, providing a 3-5 day supply of supplemental groceries and essential non-food items to 125 households a month. Participants make their own food selections, with quantities based on family size. This distribution method reduces waste, allows for dignity and self-determination and enables those with special dietary needs to select appropriate foods. The pantry provides home delivery service as needed for individuals with health limitations.


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.

Community Stories

21 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 5

Throughout the years I have volunteered for various organizations but have always wanted to help an organization that strived to make a greater impact on individuals lives. Rainbow Kitchen Community Services fits that mold as they excel at everything they do and go beyond providing a nutritious source of food for low-income individuals or families. They enhance the well-being through various youth programs, clothing drives and community activities. I feel honored to serve as a Board Member and to participate in events to promote what a great organization Rainbow Kitchen Community Services is for the local community. Please go to http://www.rainbowkitchen.org for more information or to find out how you can help make a difference.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been associated with the Rainbow Kitchen for over 25 years. I have been a board member, donor and volunteer. RKCS does an outstanding job providing food and social services to the community it serves. The executive director and staff are excellent people to work with. They are professional and dedicated to their clientele. I continue to support the Rainbow Kitchen because I see firsthand how much they care about the people they serve. If anyone is looking for an excellent non-profit to support, I highly recommend they visit their website.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have always wanted to assist those in need and have found Rainbow Kitchen to be exemplary in its mission of improving the quality of life for low-income families and individuals through programs that address hunger and child nutrition. I have been a board member for 3 years and have found the experiences gained at RKCS rewarding both personally and professionally. Based on my experiences I intend to find other ways to serve RKCS and its mission in the years to come.

Tony T.

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a transplant to this region, I felt a strong desire to find somehow make a positive impact in one of this region's struggling communities. That desire lead me to Rainbow Kitchen Community Services, located in Homestead, PA. The name Rainbow Kitchen Community Services does not even begin to describe the love, dedication and support that this organization provides to the community. Through its provision of breakfast and lunch meals, community programming and coat distributions (just to name a few), this organization truly provides a rainbow of hope to the residents of Homestead and a few senior homes.

This past weekend my wife and a few colleagues from work had the privilege and opportunity to serve soup and sandwiches to hundreds of local residents in conjunction with Rainbow Kitchen's annual winter coat distribution. It was a very moving experience, to say the least.

I invite everyone looking for a volunteer opportunity, or an organization to contribute to, to consider Rainbow Kitchen. (www.rainbowkitchen.org).

Navin P.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at Rainbow Kitchen for last couple of years and I am also a board member for the last 3 years. It is an organization that is committed to fighting against hunger and has gone above and beyond serving the cause. It not only works on supporting hungry families, but also has programs such as kids café program. Rainbow Kitchen (RKCS) has establish community programs like the daily breakfast program and the case management program that impacts the Homestead neighborhood and Pittsburgh region. I have worked with excellent staff of Rainbow kitchen and volunteers who serve with equal passion to eliminate the hunger. I am sure non profit organization like Rainbow Kitchen (RKCS) who zealously work we can eliminate hunger in this world. Keep up the good work RKCS !

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at Rainbow Kitchen for over 27 years. My first mission was to provide free Mother's Day Brunch for the female clients at my Resturant . My staff provided a delicious meal,great service,white tablecloths and flowers. My family provided live music and performances for their entertainment. This became a 15 year tradition. I then personally decided to help the RKCS staff provide the same atmosphere of hospitality during Thanksgiving. Working with young school children to provide a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. The students and their families worked hard to cook,serve,and clean up for the less fortunate people that coul not afford a nice dinner for their families. I have participated in many fund raising activities and eventually was asked to become a Board Member. I have seen many transitions and changes over the years. However the main mission has remained solid and unchanged,to improve the quality of life for low-income individuals and families through programs that address hunger,child nutrition and supportive services. I am proud to recommend RKCS as a great nonprofit organization.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I joined the Rainbow Kitchen Community Services (RKCS) as a board member last year. My experience with the organization has been extremely fulfilling with the commitment to fight against hunger. Recognized as strong and reliable source of aid to individuals in need, RKCS continues to hold true to the commitment of providing support to hungry children, low-income elderly, ill and disabled individuals, and struggling families. Their established community programs such as the kids café program, daily breakfast program and various pantry programs are just some of the ways RKCS have helped those in extreme need of resources. The RCKS has done an excellent job with their commitment to the fight against hunger.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I was on the Board for a least eight year with one brea in the middle I saw Rainbow Kitchen grow in the way the staff supported the programs and its ultimate cohesion I observed the breadth of its programing and how Executive Director learned constantly to work with the staff an Board members to explain and show us how to to be responsible .With the help of one other Board member the director learned how to write grants and organize major fund-raising events

Crissy R.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Rainbow Kitchen Community Services is a "steady rock" in the Homestead area for over 30 years. They serve their communiy by being an accessible resource for so many wonderful programs. As a board member I have come to know familiar faces in the clients they serve and have made so many friends along the way. I am grateful for the opportunity to volunteer my time to help them keep the necessary programs available to their clients.

Jay S.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Rainbow Kitchen Community Services (RBKCS) is exemplary in both strategy and execution. With a mission and vision to address hunger by tackling the root causes within a community and leveraging all facets of social entrepreneurship to raise funds for its philanthropic cause, the organization has done a remarkable job with limited funds in a challenging economic envirnoment . With a passionate board and a dedicated dynamic executive director the organization has stretched every dollar it receives to ensure it can maximize the funds to propel its vision and mission.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Rainbow Kitchen has distinguished history of providing food to one of the most challenging neighborhoods in the Pittsburgh area. Professional staff with a track record of delivering quality services through the years. Very adept at getting maximum value out of the funds donated to the organization. Branching out to provide services like a warm coat for winter.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Rainbow Kitchen Community Services has been providing "in the trenches" aide & supportive services to the least advantaged citizens of Pittsburgh's Steel Valley for more than 25 years. As member of RKCS's "blue collar" Board, I have directly witnessed how a very small and extremely dedicated staff, assisted by a caring cadre of volunteers, is able to stretch limited resources in order to lovingly help an increasing number of clients during this malingering recesion. RKCS addresses youth, elderly & at-risk nutrition and case-work needs which, but for RKCS, would go unmet. Others talk, RKCS does.

Previous Stories
3

Board Member

Rating: 5

Rainbow Kitchen Community Services annually provides the Steel Valley with more than 17,000 meals to our breakfast program participants, 70,000 Kids Café meals to children who are at risk of hunger, and 7,000 bags of groceries to families in need. Additional supportive services, including short-term and extended case management, information, advocacy, and referrals, are provided to approximately 1,500 individuals each year. RKCS is currently distributing coats and other winter items to those in need. I’m able to personally attest that all these services are provided as efficiently as possible, through a combination of volunteer support, donated food, community development grants, small donations from our friends in the community and the tireless efforts of an extremely small and dedicated paid staff. Thank you for the opportunity to write this review. May we never know hunger.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As a prior board member for the better part of two years, I was extremely proud to be affiliated with such a professional, dedicated, and able organization. The Rainbow Kitchen makes a real difference in the lives of the people in need in the Homestead and surrounding areas of Pittsburgh. May their work continue to improve and changes lives so that one day we can all say there is no hunger!

Board Member

Rating: 4

As a recent 2010 addition to the Rainbow Kitchen Community Services Board of Directors and as a proud Pittsburgher with roots in the Mon Valley, I am tremendously proud of the work of RKCS and our efforts to improve the quality of life for low income individuals and families through programs that address hunger, child nutrition and supportive services. Our organization truly makes a difference for the residents of our community and as such greatly contributes to the health and vitality of the region as a whole. Our work is done through the incredible determination of a small staff and a Board that tremendously holds the organization and the people it serves in its hands and heart. Our accomplishments are many and our potential is great.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Although I am fairly new to the board of RKCS, I have come to know a handful of dedicated board members and staff that selflessly gather to help eliminate hunger in the Steel Valley area of the Pittsburgh region. The organization actively works to feed residents of this area in need. Although feeding the residents in need is mission critical, it is also working to help families and residents in the area cope with other issues impacting their health and well being. It's a great organization that works efficiently with the limited resources it has available.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Rainbow Kitchen Community Services has been an integral part of the Steel Valley for 26 years. From its inception they have provided the community with services to help them through the ups and downs of life. Without this agency many would not have enough to eat or a place to live. My experiences with Rainbow Kitchen have made me a better person and I am thankful for the wonderful staff and board which has kept us successful in serving the community. The efforts of us all may someday bring an end to hunger, but for now we must push on and provide food and essential services to the less fortunate in our community.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

For more than 20 years, RKCS has been serving the less fortunate citizens of the Steel Valley by providing hot meals directly, food goods through its pantry program, prepared meals for day-care & after school programs, case management services, and assorted other assistive services, such as the annual coat distribution campaign. Each meal, bag of groceries, coat or referal to an appropriate service agency is distinguished by the touch of personal & sincere care and concern for our brothers & sisters. RKCS is love in action.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Rainbow Kitchen Community Service supports the community with many services with a qualified staff that knows how to meet the needs of the community. Special programs in addition to everyday operations include a Winter coat drive, Adopt a family for the holidays, and W.A.R ( walk and ride against hunger) an annual April event on the Southside Trail. Recently celebrating our 25th anniversary Rainbow Kitchen Community Service is an organization that makes me proud to be part of an active board that supports and is available to all of our clients in the Steel Valley

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

Rainbow Kitchen Community Services is a wonderful service in our community. It always amazes how the staff, volunteers, and leaders contribute so much of their time to helping others. Their love of the community is quite obvious. They are 5 stars plus!!!!!!!!!!!!

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

Rainbow kitchen is the essence of philanthropy hard work and focus at work by dedicated staff and volunteers and leaders whose core goal is to address hunger eradicaiton and poverty alleviation. This organization has one of the most hardworking earnest and caring employees who i feel privileged to know. Their quiet sincere hard work striving for no glory for themselves but just addressing the complex multifaceted problem each day and every day humbles me . Hunger is inextricably linked to many other problems, as we all know such as poverty, disease, and deprivation. Efforts to help the hungry become self-sufficient and break the cycle of hunger and poverty is another core goal of Rainbow kitchen staff volunteers and management. However Rainbow kitchen struggles to get the funds it needs to meet its goals of hunger eradication and self sufficiency.WIth a small staff and minimal funds each day the staff members on how to carry on this noble and needed task in this community.