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Local Chef Competition Held to Benefit “Good Hope Kitchen: 100 Days to $100k Program” to Build New Kitchen for Homeless Women

Local chefs, restaurateurs, and food critics gathered this Sunday in Alexandria to compete for the “Iron Chef Calvary” title. The event marked a successful start to the Good Hope Kitchen: 100 Days to $100K program – a grassroots fundraising campaign launched earlier this month to help build the kitchen in Calvary Women’s Services’ new facility in Southeast DC that will expand the critical services they offer homeless women.

Michael James of Proof and Marco Ferrari went head-to-head in a whirlwind competition for the best culinary creation. Adam Bernbach, bar manager at Estadio, also contributed by crafting a signature Calvary cocktail for the occasion.

Herb Kaplan, restaurateur and General Manager of Bistro Bis, judged the competition along with Patrick Murphy of 3 Click Solutions and Nycci Nellis, co-anchor of Foodie & the Beast. Michael James walked away with distinction of winning for the best dish, and Marco Ferrari was awarded best overall menu.

This successful benefit was the first event held to benefit the 100 Days to $100K project. Hosted by Kymber Messersmith and Tracy Ballard of Calvary Women’s Services’ Board of Directors and by Michael James of Proof, this event raised over $10,000 for the Good Hope Kitchen project. Thanks to matching support for this campaign, this amount will be doubled.

Other members of Calvary’s Board of Directors, major donors, volunteers, and other community supporters have committed to hosting events over the 100 days between September 7 and December 15 to benefit the program.  The campaign will culminate with a special ribbon cutting ceremony at the close of the 100 days, with event hosts and sponsors in attendance.

Funds raised through the Good Hope Kitchen: 100 Days to $100K project will be matched by sponsors, including foundations, corporations and major supporters.

Every year Calvary provides the women in their programs with more than 20,000 nutritious meals. At the Good Hope Kitchen, this will grow to over 35,000 meals each year. Calvary’s meals focus on promoting healthy living by providing women with nutrients that homeless women often lack – including whole grains, fresh fruit, and vegetable dishes. The meals program offers healthy options for women living with or at risk for diseases like diabetes, hypertension, obesity, heart disease and cancer.

“The meals prepared and served in the Good Hope Kitchen will nourish women while at the same time helping them build skills and connect to a supportive community,” says Calvary Executive Director Kris Thompson. “As it is for many people, the kitchen will be the heart of our new home. It will be the focal point of community life, our healthy living programs, and much, much more.”

In addition to providing for women’s basic needs, the Good Hope Kitchen will also help homeless women build healthy new lives for the long-term. Professional chefs and nutritionists will volunteer to lead hands‐on cooking and nutrition classes, helping women develop new skills they can use for the rest of their lives.

The Good Hope Kitchen will allow Calvary’s supported employment program for formerly homeless women preparing for culinary careers to expand. They are currently able to employ one chef, and will grow to add a second position in the new facility.

Calvary’s approach of providing for the immediate need for shelter and meals as well as addressing the underlying causes of homelessness works: every 5 days Calvary’s programs will help a woman move into her own home.

For additional information about the Good Hope Kitchen: 100 Days to $100K project, please contact Heather Laing at (202) 548-0596 or information@calvaryservices.org.

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