“We’re going to St. Mary’s Food Bank on 31st Avenue and Thomas,” Daniel Fenwick said.
Fenwick is heading there to buy groceries.
“When you first go in, you get a cart and weigh all of your coolers and everything you’re going to use to grab the items,” Fenwick said.
“Once you get weighed in, you walk around the front and there are dry goods, pasta, rice, beans and bread on the other side and then you go inside this big cooler and have meat on the left-hand side and then milk and dairy in the front and vegetables on the other side,” he continued.
Fenwick does this three times a week.
“You kind of pick through what you want to use,” Fenwick said. “It’s exciting to get some cool stuff.”
Fenwick is the executive chef at Circle the City medical respite center in Phoenix.
The nonprofit helps women and men facing homelessness by providing medical care and connecting them to housing and other social services.
The organization is one of St. Mary’s Food Bank’s partner agencies that can purchase items at its facility.
“After you’re done shopping, they weigh your cart and everything that is meat related or dry goods related is weighed and you get charged for that,” Fenwick said. “Everything else is free. Bread, milk and vegetables are free. So it’s an awesome organization to offer this service.”
Fenwick packs up his food and heads back to prepare 125 meals on a daily basis.
What the Circle the City residents don’t know is that this chef doesn’t have a set menu.
“Every day is different,” Fenwick said. “I never know what ingredients I’m going to work with. I have the starches, potatoes, onions, but other than that I don’t know what kind of vegetables I’m going to have or what kind of meat.”
This is a change of pace for Fenwick, who has run several kitchens at Valley restaurants.
On this particular day, Fenwick is going to whip up a green chili chicken stew with cheese, sour cream and tortillas.
“I try to make stuff that is ultimately good and ultimately something they might be familiar with,” Fenwick said.
He tries to make everything as fresh as possible.
“I would say 90 percent of the time we don’t use very much canned food,” Fenwick said.
The chef doesn’t do this all alone. Fenwick gets help from another cook, the respite assistant staff members and volunteers.
“You see their eyes light up after you give them a meal,” Fenwick said. “So it’s very much like a family.”
A family that can’t wait to see what Fenwick is going to prepare next.
“Circle the City is a place trying to do the good work and trying to help people and there are so many people in Arizona that are homeless and go hungry,” Fenwick said. “I’m so blessed to be able to work here and also to help them.”
For more information visit circlethecity.org.