By Chris Kazarian
Housing Assistance Corporation of Cape Cod
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As the owner and executive chef of The Naked Oyster Bistro and Raw Bar in Hyannis, Florence Lowell knows a thing or two about kitchens.
So when the Main Street Business Improvement District (BID) helped make the NOAH Day Center a reality in May, Lowell decided to use her expertise to help the shelter the best way she knows how – in the kitchen. “Elizabeth Wurfbain of BID put out an email saying the shelter needed help,” Lowell said. “I deal with kitchens all day long. That’s what I do so it is something I could easily take on which would benefit everybody.”
Lowell visited NOAH the week after the day center opened its doors to clients and was impressed with what she found. “I think they have a pretty nice facility when it comes to the kitchen,” she said.
Still, she saw room for some minor improvements. When NOAH director Greg Bar expressed interest in offering a Sunday breakfast Lowell bought the shelter a griddle.
Beyond that, Lowell is planning on putting a team together to spend a day and organize the kitchen so people can access food and ingredients better. “I think what they immediately need is to get a few things organized with labels so everybody can find things right away,” she said.
She also noticed the large freezer needs shelving, another project she has on her to-do list at NOAH.
And Lowell hopes to serve as a connection between her restaurant’s vendors and NOAH as a way to provide fruits and vegetables to shelter clients.
Volunteering has always been important to Lowell, who is from the Bordeaux region of France, first making stops in Houston and Austin, Texas before arriving on Cape Cod a little more than eight years ago. “In Houston I worked for the women’s shelters there,” she said. “We would make sure we spent at least one day a month cooking for people.”
Lowell has maintained her charitable giving on the Cape, where she is actively involved in fundraisers for Cape Abilities Farm in West Dennis, as well as Spaulding Rehab, where her husband Dr. David Lowell is the chief medical officer.
She views her recent work at NOAH as another way to give back to the community. “Everybody is talking about the homeless situation in Hyannis. It is a constant thing I hear,” Lowell said. “So I want to provide a better environment to entice people to stay at the shelter during the day.”