by Kareena Maxwell
Concho, Arizona – Mary Brown and Carolina Keith agree that the Concho Kitchens United has provided them with the human bond of sharing a meal together. “Ms. Brown said, “I feel so alone and I knew that I could come here and feel love.” Ms. Keith said that she felt, “Inspired,” and that it’s, “about the people.”
The premise is simple. If you’re hungry come and eat.
The Concho Kitchens United began with the idea that people are needful of food and friendship and need both without having to pay for it. In the small town of Concho many are without cash. Chris Brown, and Cori Brown had the idea for a while. To provide people with a food program that would stay afloat with donations. They weren’t interested in going after government funding, as it could very well hold up the very thing they wanted to do which is to feed people.
On November 4th, 2016, Chris and Cori extended their time and resources in the triple-wide church where they congregate on Sundays, to include Fridays at 6:30 PM, to feed others. It’s not uncommon for the menu to be announced at the local Concho Elementary School as a reminder. For instance, this Friday they served Beef Stroganoff, salad, bread and cheesecake for desert. They also share the menu on the Concho Kitchens United Facebook page.
On a blustery Friday in January, where the Concho Kitchens United passed the salivating experience into your olfactory as soon as the door opened, warmth, light and again the aroma welcomed everyone who walked in to a meal. The voices followed each other across the room over the red cloth table cloths. Volunteers chopped and mixed and on this night the children were part of the serving team. Two men talked away, while the plates were put in front of them, about their past work lives. Now retired and as their eyes looked up long enough to thank the tiny hand placing the food in front of them. They were engaged in the benefit of the kitchen that united them.
Under the bold half-moon, in the protection of heat, and prayer, Chris took hold of the voices and chatter.
“Thank you for coming,” he said. He reminded the folks to sign in and began his prayer, “Thank you heavenly Father…” and that His will be “magnified.”
There is no room for quiet after that. The joy is stumbled on over and over again. The servers provide a sweet aura of care. The moments slide into the plates of nutrition of food and friendship. The buzz warms the internal climate and comes to a temporary lull when the meal is engaged. This movement has its origin and perhaps its source in religion; in God. It also models the power of selflessness in the lives that live in the unbeatable idea of being kind to each other.
Beneath a cold sky, as the fever of a small town with big hearts take hold of the moon and nurtures the souls that pass their time and live out a new history in Concho, Arizona; a movement to care for their neighbors and carry out its mission that meals can heal, is in full bloom:
“To meet the need of feeding people that would otherwise not have a hot meal and to offer faith based guidance to those that may not spend time in church.”
Donations can be mailed to: Concho Valley Community Church (soup kitchen), 26650 Highway 61 Concho P.O. Box 692, Arizona 85924 or by calling (928) 337-4665 ext. 215