St. Clouds owner Michael McGloin chats with a Homeless Cooking volunteer.
St. Clouds owner Michael McGloin chats with a Homeless Cooking volunteer.
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St. Clouds owner Michael McGloin is sad to see his restaurant close, but he was all smiles during the Madrona haunt’s final Homeless Cooking event on Wednesday, Oct. 17.

The monthly community cookout to support organizations helping people experiencing homelessness with gourmet meals has been going strong since St. Clouds founders John Platt and Paul “Pablo” Butler started the program in 2001.

They turned the business over to McGloin in June 2017. McGloin announced St. Clouds would close on Oct. 28, citing the loss of longtime staff, food and labor costs, and Seattle’s shortage of cooks as factors.

The restaurant was full of volunteers on Oct. 17, many having participated in the monthly meal preparations for years, finding it to be a worthy cause that provided an opportunity to socialize with neighbors and build the community.

“It’s really fun, but I’m really sad it’s going to end soon,” said 9-year-old Maya Hancock, who began volunteering for Homeless Cooking when she was 6. “At least we helped the homeless now.”

“It’s part of the community and the history,” said her mother, Nicolette Hancock.

The mother-daughter duo has started volunteering with Teen Feed, which provides healthy meals to homeless youth in Seattle. Nicolette Hancock is working toward becoming a team leader.

They said they hope another business or restaurant in the area steps in to keep Homeless Cooking events going after St. Clouds closes.

“Why don’t we do it at our house and donate it to more women and children?” Maya Hancock asked.

Madrona resident Sandra Chait said St. Clouds is more of a family restaurant, which the neighborhood lacks more of. She’s been volunteering at the Homeless Cooking events for the last six years.

“It is very sad,” she said. “I belong to a group of women who are involved in a number of various activities. Some come here as a group, and it’s very enjoyable and sociable.”

Fellow member Carol Hermer said the group has supported Afghan schools, written postcards encouraging people to vote and helped refugee students with homework. There are 12 women in the group, but just three made it out for the Homeless Cooking event, said Zehava Chen-Levy. They were chopping carrots, and paused briefly to sign a thank-you card for McGloin.

“He’s done this so well. We’re really sorry this place couldn’t make it,” Hermer said. “The stuff that comes out of her is just lovely.”