KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Restaurant Week isn't only about supporting local restaurants; this year 10% of all proceeds will benefit the Guadalupe Centers in Kansas City.
"This is the best support I can have," said Ram Goswemi when asked what the Guadalupe Centers mean to him.
Goswemi is one of many Kansas Citians who've benefited from the Guadalupe Centers and has been coming to its Avenida Cesar Chavez location since the 1950s.
The Guadalupe Centers was founded in the early 1900s by a group of Catholic nuns seeking to help Mexican nationals who immigrated to Kansas City and were faced with discrimination, segregation and barred from basic services.
“Since then, it has expanded from being something that was in the Westside for Latin-X and Hispanic people, to now all across the Kansas City metro area," said Gary Enrique Bradley-Lopez, director of Communications and Outreach.
The center currently provides transportation, educational services and other resources to its community — or "familia," as they like to say.
"We serve all people, we are inclusive here, it doesn't matter what you look like," Bradley-Lopez said.
The center's catering program will primarily receive the funds from Restaurant Week.
Every weekday, a group of seven is in charge of making, serving and delivering more than 400 meals across the metro. The meals have to meet certain nutritional guidelines, but their menu also pays tribute to its Hispanic roots.
"Some of these meals go back to our heritage, like chorizo and huevos, carnitas, mole," Bradley- Lopez explained.
During the day, people looking for company can dine inside the center and eat a warm meal.
For Goswemi, that service is invaluable.
“All that come here, they are my family because in my family I am the only one here," Goswemi said.
However, just like other businesses, nonprofits are dealing with an increase in costs due to the pandemic and supply chain crisis.
The Guadalupe Centers goes through thousands of trays weekly for its meals, but the prices for trays have increased within the past year by 10 to 15%, and that's not the only problem.
“We are having trouble getting drivers or because of the pandemic, drivers being out because of the illness or exposed," said Victor Lopez, senior director of Catering Services.
As a result, their bottom line is being hurt, but the demand for services has increased because of COVID-19.
"This agency is for our community, they do things for our community and our families by giving them benefits," Lopez said.
Guadalupe Centers is looking to obtain more funding and plans on expanding its catering services and using its space to host business meetings to help bring in more money.