BRASS HAT CAFÉ TURNS MEALS INTO HOPE FOR CARROLL COUNTY RESIDENTS
Brass Hat Café is more than just a soup kitchen. It’s a hub for families to eat dinner together, with dignity and respect. “When it comes to soup kitchens, there’s kind of a stigma,” said Nina Christian, Director of Social Services for Salvation Army of Central Maryland. Brass Hat Café was designed to let families eat dinner together and feel like they are coming to a restaurant or café. The “Brass Hat” logo symbolizes dignity, and it is also a high-ranking office in the army. According to Christian, “We want to make it as though someone who comes through our doors is a high-ranking officer. It also goes with the Salvation Army theme.”
Each family is treated to homemade meals such as taco bake, baked ziti, chicken spinach alfredo, and a long list of other classics. All meals are served, restaurant style, to each family with a host waiting on each person. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, meals are created to be taken home by carryout boxes.
Brass Hat Cafe seats 50 people, and normalizes the dining experience for Carroll County residents who don’t have the opportunities to go out for dinner. This experience is designed for anyone in need such as people in between jobs, the elderly, the homeless, and folks living paycheck to paycheck. There aren’t a lot of dinner options in this area.
“We want Carroll County residents to feel at home and make this experience more about community, “said Christian. For families that need more than just a warm meal, our staff and our volunteers assess needs based on face-to-face conversation during meal time.
Andrea Gill, our Carroll County Service Center Case Manager of over 10 years, was able to assess whether single mom’s needed diapers, if a family needed food pantry help, or if someone needed hope.
Jennifer Garrison has been frequenting The Brass Hat Café since 2017. She was once homeless, with her family of 6, living from various hotel rooms. “The warm meals, three times a week, and the kindness from the staff helped me keep going through my hardships. Miss Andrea has seen me at my worst, and I can talk to her about anything,” said Garrison.
Flash forward to present day, and Garrison is a proud home owner. Her family members are also committed to helping The Salvation Army out. Her daughter volunteered at Brass Hat Café, and that eventually helped her land a job. Her son has also been a bell ringer for 4 years. And Garrison makes sure her neighbors and her community is fed, by delivering meals to them.
“The Brass Hat Café not only gives you food but through The Salvation Army they nurture your family in any way possible,” said Garrison.
There’s love beyond hunger, loneliness, and cold nights. Donate to Brass Hat Café to help them give love above all to Carroll County residents.