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our story


Thelma Altschul was a natural and gifted caretaker. She consistently shared what she had – even when she only had a little – and offered what she could when she saw a neighbor in need. Love for those neighbors was what drove Thelma “Matushka Michaila” and her husband, Father Alexii Altschul, to begin their outreach work and acts of mercy along Troost Ave. over 30 years ago. It began with simply feeding their neighbors who were hungry – Thelma was famous among her neighbors for her fried chicken, and both strangers and friends from near and far would flock to her home to share a meal with her and Father Alexii. 


Today, this legacy lives on in Thelma’s Kitchen, the first pay-what-you-can Cafe in Kansas City, a Healthy Communities initiative of Reconciliation Services. Our aim is to gather neighbors together over shared meals and with shared resources. The work of Reconciliation Services consists of an intentional continuum of care, working to see reconciliation one heart at a time through strengths-based healthy community initiatives, social & mental health services, and creating economic opportunities. 


Our mission is to cultivate a community seeking reconciliation to transform Troost from a dividing line to a gathering place, revealing the strength of all. Thelma’s Kitchen is here to meet very real needs in our area for affordable food access and to gather people together for vibrant community life. When we serve together and sit and share a meal together, we begin to understand what it means to be community. Thelma’s Kitchen is a gathering place, where everyone is welcome!


Meet The Team

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Natasha Bailey

Head Chef


Natasha Ellington

Prep Chef


Isha Jones

Prep Chef


Check out these short videos below to learn more about Reconciliation Services, Thelma’s Kitchen and why we do what we do:

History of Troost


Thelma's Kitchen - HOW IT BEGAN

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