Miriam’s Kitchen typically serves about 300 meals to homeless people in the District each day. But last Tuesday, when a widespread power outage hit the District, the kitchen was unable to prepare fresh dinners for the community. The kitchen was able to scrounge together dry food meals, but had a plumbing issue that was scheduled to be fixed the next day and, with the loss of power, also wasn’t able to put together the necessary meals for Wednesday.
So Miriam’s Kitchen called a woman who had volunteered once at the kitchen earlier this year to see whether she could help: Sonya Ali, a member of the family that own’s Ben’s Chili Bowl.
And the landmark D.C. establishment was able to come through at the last minute.
On Wednesday night, Ben’s Chili Bowl provided a spread of turkey sausages, beef sausages and half-smokes to about 130 people at Miriam’s Kitchen in Foggy Bottom, in the 2400 block of Virginia Avenue NW. The restaurant also donated buns, condiments, “a few gallons” of chili sauce, cheese and the staple potato chips that come standard with a meal at Ben’s.
“We do what we can, especially for folks that are really doing good in the community. … It was easy, it was just like a large catering order for us,” Ali said. “With proper planning, I’d be able to plan a more well-rounded meal.”
Miriam’s Kitchen prepared a blanched broccoli salad to go with the meals.
“It’s cool to be able to offer food that’s fun and synonymous with the city’s culture,” says Tom Murphy, the director of communications for Miriam’s Kitchen. “The ability to spread that to everyone in the community is a big deal for all of us.”