Miriam's Kitchen welcomes homeless on snowy days

While most of us are staying dry and indoors on this snow day, some of us aren’t so lucky. The homeless population is finding refuge any way they can, but with several shelters already full and other agencies closed for the day, many are turning to Miriam’s Kitchen in Northwest Washington.

Monday through Friday, Miriam’s Kitchen never slows, not even in snow.

“Rain or shine, through thick or thin, we’re open every day,” says Emily Hagel, the assistant director of kitchen operations.

For the past three decades, the Northwest D.C. soup kitchen has opened its doors to those in need of warmth, food, and resources to find permanent housing.

“Forty-five percent in our dining room will be sleeping outside on the streets,” says Catherine Crum, the soup kitchen’s executive director.

James Morris stopped in for a hot meal and a comforting environment.

“In the shelter you’re just stuffed in there waiting for it to get over, but here they’re got all kinds of enjoyable experiences,” he says.

“Miriam’s Kitchen is low barrier and anyone can come through our doors, and on a typical day we have just around 200 people in the morning,” says Crum.

With other agencies closed Wednesday, the kitchen saw a small peak in the number of visitors. Since the regular group of volunteers couldn’t make it in due to the weather, another group of committed volunteers showed up.

“We have guests who have cross-country skied here, walked here, biked here, whatever their means of getting here and whatever time they have to wake up in the morning, our volunteers and staff are dedicated,” says Hagel.

Behind the scenes, the cooking continued around the clock. In the community room, you could hear songs from the Boston College Gospel Choir, plus the buzzing of haircuts and laughter from a friendly game of Uno -- moments of people coming together under one roof no matter the challenges outside.

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