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…………………..Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. …………………..

Website MLK

I am very grateful to receive this prestigious award. It is an honor to be considered and in any way associated with Dr. King’s heroic life and legacy. I gracefully accept this award for the Over-The-Rhine and Walnut Hills Kitchens and Pantry and everyone that worked and volunteered to make it possible for us to reach out to our fellow citizens with love, warmth and comradery.

My life has been extremely blessed…I was raised by parents devoted to God, each other and their family.  I can remember how my parents emphasized the importance that we are all equal, We just arrived in each other’s lives from different places, with different lifestyles and with different beliefs.

The key to success and happiness is to embrace these differences, celebrate and enjoy them. Now you can understand why my parents and now me, have the utmost respect for Dr. King’s life and what he fought for. He didn’t fight just for racial rights- he fought for All Human Rights! His many quotes were inspirational and poetic, but most importantly they were the actual road map of how he walked through life – as a man with the courage to do what was right in the face of injustice and criticism.

My parents always said, “don’t tell me, show me”- Dr. King showed us by his actions.  My parents said, “It doesn’t matter where you live or what you own, but simply how you treat and respect everyone around you. Dr. King said “to judge others by the content of their heart”.

Promising something is easy, but following through to completion is tough. So, I gratefully thank you for this great award and accept for everyone who stepped up to help the Over-The-Rhine and Walnut Hills Kitchens and Pantry honor Dr. Kings example.

As Dr. King stated; “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”   “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

Thank you!  God Bless you and your families!




Catholic Charities AwardIn 2016, the Over-The-Rhine Kitchen was honored as a Champion of Mercy by Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio, who referred to the work of the Kitchen as “humbling” and “inspiring.”  We were moved by OTR Board member Sr. Aloyse Gerhardstein who nominated us for this honor.  The mission of the Kitchens and Pantry is consistent with Catholic Charities’ focus on engaging our community to see God’s love for the poor; serving and inviting the community to serve the poor; and empowering the community so all God’s children rise from spiritual and material poverty.


Better Business Bureau® 2015 Nonprofit Torch Award Winner for Marketplace Ethics

Cincinnati, Ohio (October 30, 2015) Over-the-Rhine & Walnut Hills Kitchens and Pantry of Cincinnati was named as winners of the 15th Annual BBB Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics in the Pavilion Ballroom at the Horseshoe Casino, Thursday, October 29.IMG_1788

“Our winners take great pride in ensuring an ethical marketplace where buyers and sellers can trust one another. This honor is earned through an exhaustive self evaluation. The end result is an extraordinary recognition from their peers and the community,” said Jocile Ehrlich, President and CEO of BBB.

Accolades for the winners, punctuated by applause were well deserved after successfully completing a thorough self-evaluation of ethical practices and policies. Each application was carefully reviewed by a third party judging panel for a final selection, culminating in a glamorous celebration hosted by The Center for Ethics at BBB.

“On behalf of Fr. Thomas Bokenkotter, our board of directors, staff and guests, we are clearly humbled and proud to receive the 2015 Marketplace Ethics Award for non profits. There are no words to express our gratitude or how much we appreciate the BBB and the judges’ acknowledgement of our organization and the population that we serve,” said Patricia Wakim, executive director.

The OTR Kitchen, the oldest soup kitchen in Cincinnati, remains as vital a part of Cincinnati as it has been since its 1976 beginnings. Founded by Fr. Thomas Bokenkotter, the OTR Kitchen grew out of a trip he made to New York City. Seeing needy people lined up for meals at Dorothy Day’s House of Hospitality in New York City inspired him to begin a similar mission in Cincinnati in January, 1976.

Fr. Bokenkotter has often reflected on the plight of the kitchen’s “guests.” He has stated that there are many reasons why people are caught in the trap of extreme poverty. However, while we are looking for answers, everyone can do their part to alleviate some of the suffering. This thought is what inspires our staff and volunteers to continue the work at the Over-The-Rhine Kitchen.


ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. People turned to BBB in 2014, more than 165 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 4.7 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at BBB Serving Southern Ohio, Northern Kentucky, Southeastern Indiana, founded in 1926 and serving 20 counties, is one of 113 local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico.