AREF Jen Hidinger-Kendrick with the Giving Kitchen

Co-Founder and Community Engagement Director of Giving Kitchen, Jen Hidinger-Kendrick, is in studio for this episode of Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio. Joined by co-hosts Carol Morgan and Todd Schnick, the group discusses Giving Kitchen’s mission, its creation and how it helps the community.

Hidinger-Kendrick and her late husband were both from Indianapolis, Indiana. After graduating college, the pair took a road trip around the country and ended up settling in Atlanta. With a vast background in the foodservice industry, the couple reflected on their experiences and how they could use their knowledge to add more depth to their lives. In January of 2009, Hidinger-Kendrick and her husband started inviting strangers into their home to enjoy five-course meals prepared, cooked and served by the couple.

“We ended up calling it [the dinner club] Prelude to Staplehouse,” said Hidinger-Kendrick. “Staplehouse being this restaurant we wanted to one day open. We hosted these supper clubs and a few parties over the course of four years, almost every weekend. It was a really great grassroots way for us to learn about our community, the city and the people around us and give them an opportunity to know our style.”

In 2012, Hidinger-Kendrick’s husband was diagnosed with stage-four cancer. Within weeks of the diagnosis, the community of Atlanta rallied behind the couple and organized a fundraiser complete with live music, auctions and more. The goal of earning $75,000 was surpassed and the community ended up raising over $250,000 for the couple to use to stay afloat.

“That’s really what ignited the idea and inspiration around our nonprofit Giving Kitchen,” said Hidinger-Kendrick.

Giving kitchen is a nonprofit organization based out of Atlanta but is a state-wide agency. The organization offers emergency assistance to food service workers in crisis. In the beginning, the Giving Kitchen was focused on providing financial assistance to restaurant workers in Atlanta. Over the course of several years, Hidinger-Kendrick listened and began to further understand the needs of her clientele. In addition to financial assistance, Giving Kitchen created a “stability network” which connected people with service providers, including mental health professionals, housing stability, food resources, legal services and more. The nonprofit has helped over 420,000 professionals working in the state of Georgia.

Giving Kitchen has awarded over $300,000 since COVID-19 and over $3,000,000 since its conception eight years ago.

To learn more about Giving Kitchen or how to get involved, visit You can also listen to the full interview above.

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Georgia Residential Mortgage Licensee, License #22564. NMLS ID #6606. Subject to borrower and property qualifications. Not all applicants will qualify. New American Funding and Giving Kitchen are not associated. Click here to view the terms and conditions of products mentioned during the show. Corporate office 14511 Myford Rd., Suite 100, Tustin, CA 92780. Phone: (800) 450-2010. (August/2020)

New American Funding is a family-owned mortgage lender with a servicing portfolio of over 123,000 loans for $30.4 billion, 198 branches, and about 3,100 employees. The company offers several niche loan products and has made Inc. 5000’s list of Fastest-Growing Companies in America six times. It has a state-of-the-art career training facility and develops innovative technology, including the GoGo LO mobile application. For more information, visit

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