This week on the blog we wanted to highlight one of RYM’s newest partner agencies, Carroll’s Kitchen, opening later this summer in Raleigh. Carroll’s Kitchen will be a “501c3 restaurant with a vision to end homelessness for women in Raleigh and inspire everyone in the city to make a real and positive change.” This summer Carroll’s Kitchen will be one of stops on RYM’s urban walk, an opportunity to explore Raleigh on a deeper level by walking in community members’ shoes. We got to speak with Jim Freeze, the executive director of Carroll’s Kitchen, about how this idea came about, the services they will offer women in Raleigh, and the change they hope to see for their community.
Jim told us that Vicky Ismail, board president and co-founder of Carroll’s Kitchen, has been in the restaurant business for over 35 years. She has started 4 restaurants herself, and her family has been in the business for generations. When she heard about a similar organization called King’s Kitchen in Charlotte, she became inspired to start something like it in Raleigh, but with the specific mission to serve single women coming out of homelessness or incarceration. The last Point in Time count found that Raleigh has between 800 and 1,000 individuals experiencing homelessness, with about 300 of them being single women. Jim said, “Last year there were only about 200, so it’s one of the fastest growing [populations].” He said they also felt that single women without children are one of the most underserved populations in Raleigh. “Men or families, women with children, all have more support addressed specifically for those populations than there are for single women. That’s one of the reasons we decided to focus on that is to kind of fill a gap in services.”
They are seeking to fill this gap by offering such services as job training, housing, and life skills classes. Carroll’s Kitchen will employ several women leaving homelessness or incarceration in their restaurant for one year, teaching them valuable professional skills which they can use upon graduation from the program. The women will receive a yearly stipend that is above minimum wage, and can use it to pay rent, pay off any debt they may have, and start a savings plan. Life skills courses are provided by some of Carroll’s Kitchen’s 10+ support partners. These courses are things like, “budgeting, time management, taking initiative, communication, and stress management.” Jim says when the women are “on site at the restaurant, we’re simply reinforcing them or highlighting specific parts of what they learned.” Housing is also provided by a local housing agency which Jim says has been doing great work in the Raleigh community for years. (Read this Carroll’s Kitchen blog post to find out why they felt housing was so important for the women working there).
Jim told us that they hope that through this work they will inspire others in the Raleigh community to make a difference. “We want to start a conversation. We want our food and our mission to speak for itself and have people ask questions, so then we could flip it back to them and say, ‘This is what we’re doing. What’s your passion? What could you be doing?’ When you look at our vision statement, it’s not only tackling the problem of homelessness, our vision is to end homelessness for women in Raleigh, but it’s also to inspire everyone in our city to make a positive change… Our goal is to let the individual who is inspired figure out what they are inspired about, and help get them connected to where they can lend their talents or time and/or money to make a difference.”
What are your youth inspired about? Where are they lending their talents and time to make a difference? Need a resource to get this conversation started with your youth? We’ve got you covered with this study guide we’ve created. Let us know how you use it to make a difference in your community at [email protected]!