Dorthea Brimmer feeds homeless on her porch during pandemic


June 04, 2020

Casey Ferrand (WTDN) -- Ride past the corner of Magnolia and Philip Streets in Central City around lunchtime on the right day and you will likely smell a southern cooked meal. The smell isn't coming from a restaurant or nearby grocery store. It's coming from Dorthea Brimmer's front porch. Since the pandemic began, Brimmer has been serving hot, delicious meals to the homeless and other neighbors looking for a good meal. 

The former kitchen supervisor at the Mercedes Benz Superdome has been unable to work in recent years due to health problems, but that has not stopped her from cooking. Prior to the pandemic, Brimmer cooked meals for the homeless at her church in Central City, but that was put to a halt.

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Now every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Brimmer wakes up at about 2:00 in the morning to cook for the homeless in her own kitchen. She cooks dishes like red beans and rice, smothered neck bones and potatoes and spaghetti casserole and feeds about 50 people each feeding.

She sets up a table and chaffing dishes on her porch to keep the food warm as she sits on her rocking chair waiting for her guests to arrive. No one pays for a thing, and each plate comes with a slice of bread and a water or cold drink. If anyone comes by looking for a meal on days she doesn't cook for the community, she offers them a plate of whatever she cooked for her family's dinner that day.

She said on one occasion the police showed up to respond to a call about her having more than ten people on her front porch, although she said she only had several people there. That nearly discouraged her from continuing her service, but after seeking comfort from her husband, two other officers showed up and told her to keep on at it because she was doing a good thing. 

So with the help of donations from police officers and others, she pulls together what money she can to keep her home-based food kitchen running because she says, "I just love it. I love doing it for the people. It's nobody but God who inspires me to do this."

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Photos by: Harlin J. Miller, Jr.

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