Hundreds of down and outs at Miriam’s kitchen in Washington DC saw their luck change briefly on Thursday when they spotted First Lady Michelle Obama dishing out mushroom risotto during a surprise visit. For about 15 minutes, Obama scooped steaming hot mushroom food onto plates for 50 men and women inside Miriam's Kitchen, a privately funded organisation in a Presbyterian church, which has helped the homeless for 26 years.
The visit, the first of its kind to the shelter by a first lady, is part of Obama's campaign to spotlight local organisations, connect with the city and help those in need amid the economic crisis. “We are facing some tough times in this country,” said Obama. “There is a moment in time when each and every one of us needs a helping hand.” Obama urged others to get involved in their communities and lend a hand, especially to those who call streets home. The first lady's office provided the soup kitchen with eight cases of fresh fruit and vegetables, enough for two weeks of meals, some of which was dished out as fruit salad Thursday. There was also steamed broccoli, apple-carrot muffins and whole wheat rolls to accompany the mushroom risotto. The people who stopped in to eat said they were stunned to see Mrs. Obama, who shook many hands in addition to serving this delicious mushroom dish.