The Free Food Harlem Side of Penitence

When I was younger, I didn’t realize what I was asking for was to be meeked, to find a place for the wildness I felt and not be broken of it. The Exodus and Housing Works Transition program participants are also looking for a place to put their wildness that doesn’t cause harm.


As the chef for a nonprofit that relies entirely on volunteers, I’ve had to learn how to motivate and inspire others instead of resorting to the harsh and intimidating treatment I received as a young and eager cook.

Harlem Shuffle

To say this place is a melting pot is not only an understatement, it’s a lie. Harlem is the unapologetic deep cauldron of Black culture in America.

Circulating Love

From the outside, it could seem like putting together meals is simply a good deed — an event that good people do with their extra time. But for me, I experience it as an act of self-serving generosity.

The Eight-Hour Bolognese

My adult sons don’t need me as they once did, and yet the creative energy still seeks for a channel, so I am grateful to our repeat guests, who come back week after week, to help bring the overflow to a healthy balance.

Happy Fridays in Harlem

Rachael handed me one of her cards and warmly invited me to come for a meal on Friday. I did so and was absolutely amazed to see the sheer dedication, love, and gentle handling of the many hungry people crowding the long tables, eagerly waiting to be fed.

Impermanence and the Transitory Nature of Food as Art

At 5 p.m. the meal comes together. All the items are assembled for the first time on the first plate which is set in front of the first patron. It’s like the last grain of sand, the final puzzle piece is in its place.

Sharing Abundance, Sharing Love

Alongside the food were large canisters of sparkling water, still water, and a homemade fruit beverage, providing each guest with a choice of drink before sitting at one of the well-made tables to enjoy a restaurant-quality meal.