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Cafe redefines soup kitchen in Carroll County

Workers serving up meals and respect
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Posted at 5:35 PM, Apr 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-12 07:23:06-04
With its fresh paint, high-end touches and homemade food, this new bistro on Hahn Road in Westminster breaks the mold for soup kitchens.
 
Its founder, Nina Christian, says it's serving up meals with a big helping of dignity.
 
"When it comes to a soup kitchen in general, there's a stigma that kind of goes along with it where it's just kind of this cold, dull kind of place where people stand in line and they're just kind of being slopped things on a tray," said Christian.
 
The Brass Hat Cafe offers a twist of a different kind.
 
"The Brass Hat Cafe, while it is technically a soup kitchen, it's more of a complimentary, community cafe where people come in here and they're treated the same way as if they went to a regular restaurant,” said Christian, “We want to have servers and hosts and want them to be able to come in, have a seat and we serve them."
 
Surveying other soup kitchens in the area, the Salvation Army found plenty serving meals at noon, but only one offering dinner and that was on Thursday nights.
 
The Brass Hat is offering up homemade meals on a first come, first serve basis Monday through Wednesday evenings with all of the feel of a hometown restaurant.
 
"That was our vision,” said Andrea Gill of the Salvation Army of Central Maryland, “We wanted to make something that people would feel at home at and not feel rushed and not like they're cattle being prodded in and prodded out."
 
It's a labor of love where everyone is welcomed.
 
"Anyone that shows up whether they are homeless, senior citizens... whether they have a fulltime job, living paycheck to paycheck and just need a meal,” said Christian, “If you need a meal, come here.  We will feed you.  More than happy to."
 
The cafe can seat 50 people, and it even offers take-out meals. 
 
Organizers say they could still use a dozen or so volunteers, and if you would like to help out, you can call 410-876-9358 or you can send email response to nina.christian@uss.salvationarmy.org