You may have heard that I will be retiring later this summer. The news is bittersweet. I love Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach, our team of staff, volunteers, and guests. It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve this organization dedicated to alleviating hunger, overcoming homelessness, addressing addiction, and providing outreach and advocacy. The beautiful community that is Matt Talbot - a place of welcome and refuge for everyone! Black, white, gay, straight, young, old, rich, poor, and everyone in between, is welcome as our guests, our friends, and our supporters.
When I took the role of Executive Director 25 years ago, our founders told me a few things they hoped would remain the same. They wanted us to welcome the stranger and be a vessel of hospitality. I believe that has been honored. As a professional social worker, I wasn’t content. I hoped we could impart skills, instill hope, provide education, and advocate for a disenfranchised population, who many had given up on. I believe we have accomplished that.
Why now? Well, 25 years is a long time. Our team is strong and so compassionate. We are a healthy nonprofit with robust and growing programs. And we are finally finishing our dream facility after having to relocate over 13 years ago! This report is a highlight of another amazing year of service. While I wouldn’t trade anything for my time leading one of the best organizations around, I’ll admit to wondering what’s next for me. A new leader brings on a new vision, new ideas, and new energy. The board is working with Zelle HR and I am confident our next leader will be able to carry on and help Matt Talbot to be even stronger. My last day at the helm is August 23rd, my 60th birthday!
I plan on staying involved in the community but will take a journey to India and visit the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta before I commit to something new. I still have my voice and there is still work to be done around affordable housing and protection for the chronically homeless who face severe and persistent mental illness. My last project, aside from helping with the transition, is to create a wildflower memorial garden on the grounds. As we finish up this expansion project there is space to create a special memorial where guests can find peace and comfort. I can’t wait to see it accomplished!
In closing, thank you for the many ways you have helped me on this journey. There are so many people, organizations, foundations, faith communities, family members, and friends who have joined in this effort. The beauty is that it will continue. Please always keep the mission of Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach in your good thoughts and intentions. Please be generous when you can, the work continues and the needs are great.
Our most recent community impact can be found on our website. The future is bright!
With bold hope and humility,
Susanne Blue, MSW, CSW