When Lori Combs bought the building on Northeast 36th and Kelley, her intention was to move her law firm here. But she soon realized that there was a bigger purpose for this place.
“We are helping members of our community with the basic necessities of life,” Combs said.
Almost eight years ago, lawyer Lori Combs began helping residents of the northeastern community with free meals.
“Monday through Friday we have free breakfast, lunch and dinner, Saturday we have lunch and Sunday we have family meal on Sunday,” Combs said.
Initially there was a cost for meals.
“She saw someone eat out of the trash and she said she couldn’t let people go hungry, and she started feeding breakfast, lunch and dinner,” said Arnita Golden, one of the community and cultural center volunteers.
Combs, however, knew his community needed more than free food.
“We are tutoring, we have a mentoring program that we are preparing to open up our community wardrobe, where we will have clothes for men, women, boys and girls,” Combs said.
There is also a community garden at no cost for any of the services provided.
“All of this, Lori does on her own and out of her pocket,” said Eunice Dawson, a former volunteer who now benefits from the free food.
No business partners or sponsors here, everything is funded by Combs and people who want to donate.
“God provides us with what we need and more for us to share with others,” Combs said.
Combs understands the value of a place like this to its community.
“A lot of times people come here not just to eat or dress, sometimes they just want to talk, they just want a hug, they just want someone to share things with, someone to take care of. And we provide that. Love is free, so we have a lot of it, ”Combs said.