The kitchen was established in January of 1976 after Father Thomas Bokenkotter, a priest of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, returned from a visit to Dorothy Day's House of Hospitality in New York City.
Seeing the poor people lined up for meals, Father Bokenkotter
wondered whether anything like it existed in Cincinnati.
Upon returning from his
consulted with various local social service agencies who informed him that there was indeed a need for such a program.
At the time there was only one such soup kitchen in Cincinnati, which combined a free meal with an obligatory religious service.
felt there was room for another type of program in view of the large number of poor in the Over-the-Rhine area (8,000 people below the poverty level out of a population of some 10,000).
recruited a number of volunteers and with just $700 in the bank, he
started serving warm meals in a building on Main Street.
At first the meals were cooked in the kitchen at St. Gregory Seminary
, where Father Bokenkotter
was a professor.