A 2018 study done by Feeding America showed that there are approximately 138,000 people or 16% of the population in Collin County are food insecure. Of those, 48,000 or 20% are children. Sobering statistics for a prosperous and growing county.

To address the needs of the region, Community Garden Kitchen of Collin County (CGK) broke ground recently on the county’s first kitchen dedicated to serving prepared meals to those in need. Board members of the Episcopal Foundation of Dallas were joined at the groundbreaking ceremony on Dec. 6 by supporters including McKinney Mayor George Fuller and his wife Maylee Thomas Fuller of the Love Life Foundation; Rick Wells, owner of Rick’s Chophouse; and Raj and Lori Bhargava, owners of Manner Polymers.

More than 200 guests attended the celebration, and guests helped prepare 300 sack lunches with food donated by Market Street, which were donated to The Samaritan Inn shelter in McKinney.

CGK, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, will be located in east McKinney, at 500 Throckmorton St., McKinney, sharing the property with Holy Family Pre-School. The land for the facility has been provided by the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas.

Construction is expected to begin once the city approves the plans. CGK president Angela Poen said that while she’s hopeful that the exterior of the building will be complete by spring 2020, future fundraising is still needed to complete its interior. Kitchen equipment, furniture and fixtures still need to be purchased.

During the groundbreaking, the Episcopal Foundation of Dallas board was pleased to present a $60,000 check to Ms. Poen, and the Bhargavas and employees of Manner Polymers presented a gift of $100,000.  Both gifts will go toward the capital campaign for construction.

The 5,000 square-foot facility will feed anyone in need of a meal, no questions asked, or paperwork required. Volunteers will serve in a restaurant-style atmosphere to provide dining with dignity for those in need.

To learn more about Community Garden Kitchen visit communitygardenkitchen.org.