More than a boxed lunch

For more than 30 years, Thelma’s Kitchen has served Kansas City neighbors experiencing food insecurity. 

Located near Troost Avenue in Kansas City, Mo., the kitchen started as a way for Thelma “Matushka Michaila” and her husband, Father Alexii Altschul, to feed their hungry neighbors. 

Thelma’s Kitchen opened as a donate-what-you-can café in 2018. Guests can pay what they are able to, volunteer time, or just select a meal with dignity of choice. In March 2020, the pandemic shutdown created a pivot that had a massive impact on the organization’s outreach.

 During COVID, Thelma’s Kitchen opened a walk-up window with individually packaged boxes to meet the needs of their neighbors, which grew into a catering enterprise that provides funding to the parent organization Reconciliation Services. Each box sold goes to provide healthy community initiatives, social and mental health services, and economic opportunity for their neighbors along Troost Avenue.

Thelma's Kitchen relies heavily on volunteers to help maintain operations while keeping costs down, so money received can be dedicated to the care provided by Reconciliation Services. Thelma’s will be reopening the donate-what-you-can model when renovations are complete on their space at 31st and Troost in early 2024.

A team of Spire employees recently used their Day for Good to prepare boxed meals, salads and sandwiches for the catering orders for the day. The work that’s done at Thelma’s Kitchen supports Spire’s commitment to building equitable food access in urban communities across our service territories. 

“Anytime you have the opportunity to volunteer your time in service of others is a good day. But when you can do it with great people for a great cause, that is the icing on the cake! The extraordinary staff at Thelma’s were a joy to serve alongside." - Izaak Cox, manager, operation support

spire volunteers preparing food


spire volunteers boxing items


To learn more about the work that Thelma’s Kitchen provides to the community, visit their website.