Anchorage man hero to the hungry

The past holiday season proved
to be a cold and dense one, however,
one man with a mission didn’t falter.
With help from his community and
donations from across the city, he
sought to feed those who were hungry.
Many children were fed despite tight
funds due to the economic drudge.
Elgin Jones, founder of Kids
Kitchen located in the Fairview
Recreation Center, has been feeding
nutritious meals to Anchorage kids
for 12 years.
“When I was growing up, the
neighborhood always saw to it that the
children had something to eat,” Jones
said.
Funding for Kids Kitchen comes
from donations around the community
along with in-kind donations around
the city equaling around $5,000.
Jones, 69, also puts a lot his own
money into his small nonprofi t.
“I pay for things and I don’t have a
wife anymore unless you know someone,”
Jones said with a laugh.
With the national economic downslide,
however, Jones has found himself in a bind
to make sure every one of the kids that
came into his kitchen was fed.
Janna Walker is a coordinator for
Pennies for the Penniless, a campaign
that has been helping raise funds for Kids
Kitchen for 12 years.
“I think [Jones] program is fantastic,
especially for the community,” Walker
said. “It’s not just food that Elgin provides,
but a safe environment for the kids to
socialize, and to be mentored.”
Jones said that with the building paid
by the municipality he only has to worry
about purchasing food. He said the Food
Bank helps out a lot, along with some aid
from United Way. When it comes to food,
grocery stores can only do so much.
“The stores are businesses. They help
when they can but can’t cut deals,” Jones
said.
He said it was hard to keep up with the
cost, but has never had to tell a child that
the kitchen didn’t have any food to feed
them.
Jonesí lifetime friend, Tony Pruitt,
has helped prepare meals for the past two
years. Pruitt started going to Jones for
something to eat when he was a boy in
Mountain View.
“My friends told me about this old cat
giving out food,” Pruitt said. “I didn’t
believe them until I went there I found out
myself.”
Benjamin Robertson, a teacher at West
High School, said he is a huge supporter of
what Jones does.
“Kids Kitchen is one of the most
benefi cial programs for kids in Anchorage,”
Robertson said. “It allows the kids a safe
place and a hot meal.”
As for the future of Kids Kitchen, Jones
said he would like to see the program on
wheels, so he could go to homes and parks
to deliver food. He said the future of the
kids that attend his program, however,
resides in their education.
“Education is no longer about being
white, but about being right,” Jones said.