IF FOOD IS A COMMON GROUND, THE
WOMAN BEHIND SPOKANE'S CHRIST KITCHEN HAS COME
UP WITH A RECIPE FOR LIFE-TRANSFORMING SUCCESS.
JAN MARTINEZ'S MINISTRY GOES BEYOND JUST FEEDING THE HUNGRY
… IT'S GIVING WOMEN IN POVERTY A DIVINE HAND UP.
JAN IS TONIGHT'S EVERYDAY HERO.
GEORGIA LOVE-CHRIST KITCHEN/EMPLOYEE
We are making glorious, gluten-free cookies."
INSIDE THIS FORMER FAST FOOD RESTAURANT ON NORTH MONROE… YOU'LL FIND
WOMEN BUSY AT WORK… AND, A LOT OF JOY, BEYOND THE NAMES
OF THE ITEMS PREPARED HERE… LIKE JOYOUS GINERSNAPS AND BENEVOLOLENT BROWNIES.
SPOKANE'S CHRIST KITCHEN… IS A GATHERING PLACE
FOR WOMEN FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE, LIKE GEORGIA
LOVE, WHO CAME HERE TO FIND WORK… AND, DISCOVERED MUCH MORE.
Came in looking for a job, and I
found a whole lot of other stuff. Christ,
friends, sisters, love. And a wonderful lunch every Thursday."
IT WAS THE SUPPORT GEORGIA DESPERATELY NEEDED. A FORMER ADDICT
WHO USED HEROIN TO HIDE THE PAIN OF A BATTERED FAMILY…
SHE KNEW DEEP INSIDE GOD HAD A BETTER PLAN FOR HER LIFE.
It has given me growth...and The Lord.... it has
given me stability for myself. Just new ways of
thinking and doing stuff. Recognizing The Lord in my life."
CHRIST KITCHEN WAS CONCEIVED BY JAN MARTINEZ 15 YEARS AGO.
AS A THERAPIST, WHO WORKED WITH WOMEN STRUGGLING TO ESCAPE
POVERTY, ABUSE, AND ADDICTION, SHE WANTED TO OFFER MORE THAN COUNSELING.
So, I set up little chairs and put a bible stand out, and no one came. So the next week I'd say, 'You know that bible study?' and they'd say 'oh yeah... I can't do it' and the
next week no one came. So I said to the nurse practicioner over there 'ok, so let's pay them. They need money.' She was an old missionary from Paupa New Guinea and she nixed that idea. So I
had to come up with something... Alright. let's make something and sell it and that will provide the money. I knew money would woo them in the door. And it still does. To this day it still does.
THE MINISTRY HAS EVOLVED FROM A BIBLE-STUDY… TO A JOB TRAINING PROJECT… PROVIDING WORK, DISCIPLESHIP, SUPPORT AND
FELLOWSHIP TO DOZENS OF WOMEN. THROUGH THE SALES OF 35 GOURMET DRIED FOOD PRODUCTS AND CATERED BOX
LUNCHES, CHRIST KITCHEN ENALBLES WOMEN TO LEARN TO WORK, BECOME EMPLOYABLE AND EVENTUALLY SUPPORT THEMSELVES AND THEIR FAMILIES.
They come from all over town. I never knew how we would gather the women together, but they come off the bus, or they'll say 'oh
she was crying on the bus, can she come to work?'... and recovery programs, and battered women's shelters. Everybody has a different story. One lived around
the corner from the little church that we started in on Boone. I don't ever know, but I really think God leads them here when it's time."
My life, before I came here, I struggled... I didn't... it was the cares of the world... I didn't let
God come into my life like he is now to help me out and to trust in him. Since I've
been working here I've been able to trust in the Lord a lot more. This has been a blessing for me."
A FRIEND ENCOURAGED LORI SMITH TO COME TO CHRIST KITCHEN.
SHE'S NEVER LEFT AND IS NOW PART OF THE STAFF.
Today we are working here on the floor with the girls. This is our Thursday work day. And I make sure the girls all sit
down, and they're doing their work, and move the tubs after they're full and get them ready to take over to storage. I cut ribbon,
as you've seen. Some of them are putting ribbon in stuff and tying bows. Other ones are labeling and bagging... and sending them down the line.
It must be fulfilling to
see the transformation in these women's lives
"It absolutely is, but I can tell you the transformation in my life, how they have taught me about
simplicity and about real faith that really lives whether you have anything or not. These gals will say 'I'm not
poor. I don't have any money, but I'm not poor.' That is what keeps me here. And humble. And learning everyday."
IT'S WHAT KEEPS ALL THESE WOMEN AT CHRIST
KITCHEN. 8 YEARS AND COUNTING FOR GEORGIA.
Well, I'll be here until God says when. I love it,
I don't know. This is God's mission for me, and when
he's done with me here, I suppose he'll move me on."
I would love to see as many women being able to be hired here that want to be hired. I think our capacity might be about 50. And if we're working five
days a week, we could... a lot of people would come to the bible study and hear the word and be around a healthy community. It's really about getting stable. Emotionally and
spiritually. Physically, we have a lot of gals learning to eat right and lose weight and get healthy. So I would love to see more and more be able to take advantage of that."
CHRIST KITCHEN SELLS ITS GOURMET DRIED FOOD ITEMS AT ITS
NORTH MONROE LOCATION AND ON LINE. IT'S CATERED BOX
LUNCHES ARE A BIG HIT WITH DOWNTOWN BUSINESSES AND CHURCHES.
WE'VE PUT A LINK ON OUR WEBSITE AT KXLY-DOT-COM.