Even as her popularity as a chef grew, Mary Ellen Diaz stayed connected to homeless shelters and food pantries. Almost daily, leftovers from her kitchens turned up on the plates of the needy.
But it was never enough for Diaz. "I was always giving away the last slice," she says about her restaurant days. "I didn't think first about feeding the poor."
That's all changed. Today, Diaz presides over the kitchen at Ebenezer Lutheran Church, Chicago, and a program called First Slice (firstname.lastname@example.org). She started the project early this year with the support of the church council, her $10,000 contribution of restaurant equipment and a $5,000 ELCA "In the City for Good" grant.
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