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wanted to encourage members to meet the needs of the surrounding community, and Vicky envisioned opening a restaurant that could be leveraged to provide employment, training and additional services to women experiencing homelessness. “As soon as I heard Vicky’s presentation, I was on board,” Jim says. Vicky’s background as a successful restaurant owner and Jim’s experience in operations and outreach proved a solid foundation for developing what they call a social enterprise: a business that serves others in a sustainable way, investing proceeds in the continued success of the program. After spending about a year discussing the details, the pair organized a launch party in April, before a location had even been decided. Nearly 300 attendees, including a complement of Raleigh chefs, gathered at HQ Raleigh to learn more about Carroll’s Kitchen and ways they could contribute. A Kickstarter campaign soon followed, logging hundreds of individual donations to help fund the startup. Jim eventually left his job to focus on the restaurant. The pair looked to The King’s Kitchen in Charlotte for ideas and inspiration, and soon learned of similar businesses in cities across the country, including New York City, Washington, DC and Dallas. Everywhere they turned, they found encouragement and valuable advice for running the business. Local agencies are collaborating with Carroll’s Kitchen to assist employees with housing, insurance and training to support their transition from homelessness. The two women currently in the program were identified and recommended by a partner agency, and a case manager will work with each one to ensure they receive appropriate support. Vicky says the initial plan is to employ the participants for approximately one year, with the goal of seeing them gain full independence. “This is so much more than just a job,” she says. “These women really care for each other.” She says the end of each shift comes with a feeling of pride and accomplishment, especially on busy days. midtownmag.com | 57

Midtown Magazine  

November/December 2016

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