Women & Children’s Free Restaurant was established in 1988, serving weekly meals to 15-20 women and children in the basement of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. The idea for the restaurant came from a local college student who, in her research, discovered the need and lack of a dedicated place for women and children to receive a meal in a place safe from domestic violence and other abuses.
WCFR continued to serve meals in the church’s basement until May of 2015. On June 2, 2015, we opened the restaurant in our new facility located at 1408 N. Washington. We now welcome thousands of women and children to the restaurant annually. Respect, dignity and a sense of community continue to be core values of our work and are an integral part of the services we offer.
Over the past 29 years, WCFR’s mission statement has been refined as follows: Women & Children’s Free Restaurant & Community Kitchen is a vital safety net that fills nutritional gaps for women and children in need while fostering dignity and respect, both within our restaurant and in the community.
- WCFR has 8 employees and a volunteer board of directors.
- WCFR has an active and occasional workforce of over 400 volunteers. It takes 140-150 volunteers to support our programs each week.
- WCFR is a fully licensed restaurant and caterer required to adhere to the same health and safety requirements and standards established for all other commercial restaurants.
- We serve 3 nutritious meals a week in the restaurant and provide healthy meals to 18 partner programs at other local social service agencies and community centers.
- We receive donated food each year valued at $100,000.
- We prepare and serve 1,500 scratch-made Thanksgiving dinners annually at Rogers High School. This is the largest plated holiday meal in the community.
WCFR offers three core programs:
Restaurant Meals: We serve nutritious meals in our restaurant three days a week. Our diners have a full restaurant experience – excellent service, a menu with choices and delicious meals. Our safe, caring environment provides women and children a place for dignified treatment, compassion and acceptance. All meals are provided free of charge.
Nutrition to Go: We currently partner with 18other programs across the community to provide nutritious meals for their clients. All meals are provided free of charge – to the agencies and the citizens they serve. We do what we do best to support what they do best!
Nutrition Essentials: Our newest program is designed to improve overall health and reduce the risk of obesity and diabetes through cooking workshops and goal setting for women’s health, and the health of their families. Throughout the 8-week course, participants receive a variety of whole foods and healthy ingredients to take home.