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Our History

Open to all for over 30 years.

Photo of a church made of stone with a bright red double door.
Photo of Father Maurice Branscomb with his pastoral collar, black glasses, and silver ring.

The 1980s

On November 11, 1980—during a difficult economic time in Birmingham, Alabama—The Community Kitchens (originally known as The Red Door Soup Kitchen) was established by Father Maurice Branscomb to provide meals to those in need. As unemployment soared, Father Branscomb witnessed firsthand the struggles of people in the Southside/Downtown area and decided to take action. With the support of St. Andrew’s Parish, he started serving soup to just two people at the beginning. But as the need grew, so did the program. By the end of the year, Community Kitchens was open five days a week. These modest beginnings marked the start of a program that has continued to thrive to this day. The goal was simple but crucial: to provide a nutritious, warm meal to anyone who was hungry, regardless of their circumstances.

Photo of two gentleman, one in a green shirt and the other in red. They are standing in front of a stone church that serves free food to those who are hungry.

The 1990s - Now

In 1991, Community Kitchens took a big step forward and created a community-based Board of Directors. This allowed us to obtain a 501(C)(3) nonprofit status—giving donors the opportunity to make tax-deductible contributions and opening the door to receive support from the wider community. 

Even though Community Kitchens is no longer affiliated with St. Andrew's or Grace Episcopal Churches, we honor Father Branscomb's legacy by keeping our doors open to all. Our soup kitchen continues to offer free meals—feeding anyone who is hungry in Birmingham, Alabama—regardless of their religious affiliation or financial situation. To this day, those who eat at our tables are referred to as "guests."


Guests are treated with dignity, respect, and are always welcome.

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