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Cathedral Kitchen

Food for the body is not enough.
There must be food for the soul.

-Dorothy Day

Our Mission
The Cathedral Kitchen is one of many outreach programs of St. James Cathedral. The Kitchen opens its doors five days a week to provide a nourishing, hot meal to those in need in our First Hill and Downtown Seattle neighborhoods. The Cathedral Kitchen serves anyone in need, regardless of age, gender, or creed.

Click here to learn about the Cathedral Kitchen Garden.
A Day in the Life at the Cathedral Kitchen
The day begins at 8:30am each weekday. Two “gleaners” (fifteen of them during the week) drive around Seattle collecting produce, deli meats, and dairy from various grocery stores—PCC, Madison Market, and QFC—for the four-course meals that are prepared and served to 150 guests five days a week, all year round, including all holidays except Christmas Day.

Twelve to sixteen volunteers arrive during the afternoon. Our volunteers include Cathedral parishioners, students from Seattle University and local high schools, neighbors, and business professionals.

The long tables are beautifully set each day, and the guests are served with loving care. Each day a different chef prepares a fresh and nutritious menu based on that day’s gleanings. The guests start lining up outside at 3:00pm. All take their places in the Hall at 3:45pm and dinner is served at 4:15pm.

During the meals, other services are provided, including ESL tutoring, health and wellness checks, and referrals to local social agencies. More volunteers help with cleanup, and the day ends around 6:30pm.

A Brief History of the Kitchen
The Cathedral Kitchen began life as the Family Kitchen on February 24, 1975. Nine people came to Cathedral Hall to taste Catholic Worker food and warm hospitality that Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin envisioned when they founded the Catholic Worker movement in 1933. That crowd of nine on Day One has become an average crowd of 150 more than four decades later. The Family Kitchen has been able to remain a welcoming, safe, non-judgmental place In May of 2007, the Catholic Worker group made the decision to step back from operating the Family Kitchen, and St. James Cathedral took the kitchen on as one of its own ministries, hiring two full-time staff to operate the kitchen and coordinate volunteers. Today, the Cathedral Kitchen serves all in need, regardless of age, gender, or creed.
Partnering with the Community
The Cathedral Kitchen depends on many hands and resources—more than 150 volunteers, as well as long-standing partnerships with St. Mary’s Food Bank, Operation Nightwatch, Union Gospel Mission, and Northwest Harvest. We also receive regular donations from individuals—Our Lady of Fatima Parish regularly donates clean containers for leftovers and new white towels; Our Lady of the Lake Parish has a team who bake homemade cookies for sack lunches; a friend from St. Anne’s Parish donates laundry soap as well as chips and crackers.
Cathedral Kitchen Statistics
Total meals served
Hot meals served each weekday: 150
Meals served in a week: 750
Meals served in a year: 39,000

All this is made possible thanks to the generous support of St. James Cathedral parishioners as well as spontaneous gifts from people across our city. While the majority of the food is donated and prepared by volunteers, the staff and the facilities require funding. It adds up:
Look at it this way
Serve one guest for a month: $75
Keep the kitchen open one day: $665
Keep the kitchen open a week: $3,325
What Can I Do to Help?

For more information or to volunteer, contact director Mick McHugh (mmchugh@stjames-cathedral.org, 206-264-2091).



Return to St. James Cathedral Parish Website

804 Ninth Avenue
Seattle, Washington  98104
Phone 206.622.3559  Fax 206.622.5303