Community Kitchen has been serving the Myrtle Beach area for almost 30 years
Community Kitchen of Myrtle Beach was founded in 1992 by several Grand Strand residents with the idea of helping those in need.The needs have risen over the years to the point where the Kitchen cooked and either served or delivered over 150,000 hot meals in 2021 alone. It operates with a paid staff of two along with 80 to 100 volunteers who do everything from cook and serve to driving a truck for pickup and delivery. Their guests are treated with love and respect, many of whom have found themselves in a situation they never anticipated. The working poor, senior citizens, children, veterans, transients and the homeless are given free, nutritious meals regardless of what circumstance got them there. Breakfast and lunch–if you’re hungry, you eat.
Sean Mazur is the executive director and Lisa Greene is the kitchen manager, but they also do so much more on a personal level. Mazur and Greene love to interact with the people to share a sense of hope and inspiration.
Mazur found himself doing community service at the Kitchen nine years ago and never left. Greene has been with the Community Kitchen for four years after attaining advanced degrees in nursing and nutrition. You can hear the love in her voice when she says, “The rewards here are so much greater than money.”
She has a smile to light up the room and keeps things moving and shaking behind the scenes.
Community Kitchen is far from a soup kitchen. In addition to delivering hot meals to locations around the area, the meals that are served cafeteria-style in the building at 1411 Mr. Joe White Ave. are anything but ordinary. The menu changes weekly with different offerings each day. A typical lunch selection might be curry chicken, sautéed broccoli, potatoes, salad, roll and a choice of cookies or cake for dessert. This is all made possible by the generous food donations of local grocers, the business community at large, and local citizens who give their time and money. Breakfast is served Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.; lunch Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Mazur says that he has seen a dramatic drop in private funding and donations in the past six months. With recently released studies showing that 1 in 4 Horry County residents are food insecure, he expects the demand for their services will continue to increase as they have for the past 29 years. Mazur and Greene utilize the small space to its maximum potential, but there is only so much room in the ovens and stoves which already run from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily. Supply chain food shortages have also affected their ability to operate, but they always come through for their customers.
Recent rationing of product means that they now only get three cases of an item instead of the usual 50. This amounts to added expense and additional trips for the volunteers, who are the backbone of the organization. The volunteers have a heart for serving their community and give their time and resources to make it happen.
If you would like to join their team, visit Communitykitchenmb.org to donate or volunteer.