The Kitchen, Inc. hires new chief executive officer

Meleah Spencer/The Kitchen

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (News Release) -- The Kitchen, Inc. is pleased to announce it has hired Meleah Spencer as its new chief executive officer.

Spencer, a native of southwest Missouri, has spent the last 10 years in fundraising and development and most recently served as the executive director at the Discovery Center of Springfield. Her passion to prevent and end homelessness began when she met Sister Lorraine Biebel during a school project in college.

“Meeting Sister Lorraine and seeing her selflessness at work serving the homeless population truly inspired me. I am beyond delighted and honored to be able to work with a great team of staff, board members, and community advocates to continue to fulfill the organization’s mission and continue Sister Lorraine’s legacy to prevent and end homelessness,” says Spencer.

Spencer will oversee all The Kitchen operations and will continue to grow the “Housing First” model adopted five years ago. The “Housing First” model allows The Kitchen to offer assistance without preconditions, such as employment, income, or sobriety with resources and services tailored to the unique needs of each household. “Housing First” has allowed the success rate of our clients becoming and remaining stably housed to rise from 65 percent to 77 percent. Spencer will also help continue The Kitchen's growth by helping complete the current capital campaign, which launched in 2016.

“We’re excited to bring Meleah on as our new chief executive officer. In 1983, Sister Lorraine started the Soup Kitchen that became The Kitchen, Inc. and has continued to grow and adapt to the needs of our community. With Meleah’s background, experience, and passion, we’re looking forward to the next chapter with her at the helm,” says board president Jim Newman.