The nonprofit Kitchen, Inc. has hired Meleah Spencer to serve as its new chief executive officer.
Spencer is a southwest Missouri native who most recently served as the executive director at the Discovery Center of Springfield. According to a news release issued Monday by the Kitchen, she spent the last 10 years in fundraising and development.
Spencer’s appointment comes five months after the exit of former CEO Rorie Orgeron.
She will oversee all Kitchen operations, including the continued development of its “Housing First” model adopted five years ago. The Kitchen says by offering assistance without preconditions its clients that have become and remained stably house has risen from 65 to 77 percent. Spencer will also help complete the organization’s current capital campaign, which launched in 2016.
“We’re excited to bring Meleah on as our new Chief Executive Officer,” Board President Jim Newman said in a statement. “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.”
According to a news release, Spencer’s 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.
In June, the Kitchen broke ground on a new combined campus that will house administrative offices and a shelter along with support services.
Follow Scott Harvey on Twitter: @scottksmu