Who We Are
Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach was founded by Catholics and has become a diverse community of servants, called by God to nourish and empower one another in a spirit of dignity and love.
Defeat hunger and homelessness. Restore hope!
The Mission of Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach is to serve the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of Lincoln's working poor and homeless through outreach, advocacy, education and the provision of food and shelter.
- Compassionate love
Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach
Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach (MTKO) is named in honor of Matt Talbot, an Irish Catholic alcoholic known as the “Patron Saint” of Alcoholics.
By the age of 13 he was a confirmed alcoholic. He continued his alcoholic ways until 1884 when, at age 28, he vowed to quit drinking and devote his life to working and doing penance. The Catholic Church has since venerated Matt Talbot. For many alcoholics, his life provides a powerful example of conversion, recovery, and hope.
Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach grew out of concern for low income and homeless alcoholics. Former MTKO board member, Mary Costello, was a member of the Lincoln Diocesan Council for Alcohol & Drug Rehabilitation. She was also a member of Calix, a Catholic organization comparable to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). In the summer of 1992, the idea of providing a meal in order to reach those who may be in need arose. It wasn't long until enough volunteers were organized to serve a meal one night a week. In September 1992, they began serving meals each Saturday evening.
With no kitchen or dining facility
As more and more people volunteered, coordinated through the efforts of longtime volunteer Ruth McKinstry, teams were organized and gradually reached the point of serving meals every night of the week. Meals were served out of Daywatch, another service organization serving the homeless at the time. With no kitchen or dining facility, meals were prepared at home and brought in to be served using paper plates and plastic utensils.
A fundraising drive was established in November of 1993 with the goal of renovating an adjacent space equipped with a kitchen and dining facility. The first meal in the new kitchen was served on January 2, 1995!
In March of 1995, Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach began serving lunches every weekend. Not long after, October 1998, weekday lunches were served. In 2003, with the expansion of outreach and homeless prevention services, another renovation was completed to update the food preparation area, expand the overcrowded dining room, and create additional office space for new staff.
Respect and Love
The kitchen provides an environment of respect and love. There is no question asked or judgment made towards the people we serve. We ask for nothing but for our guests to be substance free and respectful of our program and each other. It is a mission of feeding in the broadest sense of the word in an environment that encourages empowerment, nonviolence and mutual respect.
First Executive Director
In 1999, the Board of Directors took a leap of faith and hired the first Executive Director for the organization, Susanne Blue, MSW.
With input from volunteers and community leaders, and study of local needs, the board determined that there was a need for not only nourishment of the body for the homeless and working poor, but also for the spirit and mind. With her expertise in grant writing and program planning, Ms. Blue has led the kitchen to develop an array of programs and services designed specifically to address the needs of the homeless and near homeless of our community. With our phenomenal volunteers and dedicated staff, the mission for the kitchen is being fulfilled and we are moving towards our vision for the future.