“I had been working since I was 15. I’d never been in a position where I had to ask for things,” says Kenneth, who lost his forklift operating job when his company relocated. He was forced to move back home with his mother until Inspiration Kitchens helped him gain the culinary skills he needed to secure a full time job as a cook. He and his mother were able to move out of their housing project and into a newer building. Kenneth says that his mother took care of him while he was unemployed, and now he is proud to be taking care of her.
All meals are cooked and served by volunteers. The Living Room Cafe is open to people on the waiting list for the Supportive Services program as well as to participants in Inspiration Corporation's programs, all of whom are working on stability by increasing income and/or becoming permanently and stably housed.
On the first and fourth Friday of each month, 8:30-9:30 am (except for holidays), The Living Room Cafe hosts a Community Breakfast, at which any member of the Woodlawn community can dine and learn about services offered by Inspiration Corporation and other organizations.
In addition to offering meals, The Living Room Cafe operates a food pantry that is open 1-3 pm Mondays and Fridays to Inspiration Corporation participants as well as residents of the 60637 Zip code.
Founded in 1995 by Jennifer Kihm, an Inspiration Cafe volunteer who wanted to replicate the success of the "Cafe Model" on the south side of Chicago, The Living Room Cafe became part of Inspiration Corporation in July 2003.