D.C.

Miriam's Kitchen serves Christmas meals to needy

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WASHINGTON (WJLA) - While many will spend Christmas with their families, a dedicated group of Miriam's Kitchen volunteers is serving food to Washington's most needy.

At the strike of 6 a.m., 20 D.C. area residents walked into the basement of Western Presbyterian Church in Foggy Bottom. Together they cooked-up a hot breakfast for 200 of D.C.'s neediest residents. On the Christmas breakfast menu: french toast, eggs and shrimp, hash browns, stone grits, home fries, homemade applesauce and green salad.

"It shouldn't be impossible to get a great meal. We have really talented chefs and phenomenal volunteers who make it possible to serve a really great meal at low cost with high quality," Miriam's Kitchen spokesman Tom Murphy said.

Guy Weekes, who served in Desert Storm and once held a job that paid him $90,000 salary, credits Miriam's Kitchen for helping distract him from a longstanding cocaine addiction.

"It always is a good day when you make the first positive step. I didn't use yesterday so today is a good morning," Weekes remarked while savoring hash browns and a warm cup of coffee.

Miriam's Kitchen, which serves hot breakfast and dinner, plus bagged lunches, Monday through Friday, has been a reliable lifeline for D.C.'s chronic homeless since 1983.

"They don't really dig into your problems, they let you tell them your problems," one guest, who goes by Rick, said.

Married with kids, Rick lived a normal life until a drug and alcohol addiction destroyed it all. Now five years later, now two years sober, Rick regularly utilizes Miriam's Kitchen counseling services.

"Before I couldn't see. Everyday was the same. Now I know the difference between a day and a holiday, and I can see the joy in people's eyes instead of the lust in mine," Rick added.

Miriam's Kitchen served Christmas breakfast from 6:30 - 8 a.m. It will also serve dinner from 4:45 - 5:45 p.m. The special item on the Christmas dinner menu, pumpkin cranberry cakes topped with a whip cream mousse. Miriam's Kitchen says the pumpkins came straight from the White House garden.

"It's a slow process, but I'm getting there. Now if I can just take the taste of cocaine out of my mouth cause the food is better, yes it is," Weekes concluded.

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