Detroiter plans to feed more homeless people with chef cooked hot meals

Posted at 3:19 PM, Sep 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-18 09:25:21-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — For the outside world, TV Lounge is a vibrant hangout spot in downtown Detroit. But there is more to the place than meets the eye.

Every Tuesday, hot meals for around 125 homeless people are prepared in the lounge's kitchen. From catfish to sweet potatoes to wings and more, all cooked by ten metro Detroit chefs who dedicate their time for free for 'Love Only,' an in-house non-profit founded by 60-year-old Ivory Graves, who is also the owner of TV Lounge.

"Savannah Blue, Petty Cash, Cutters... all those guys give us their chefs to make really make good stuff that they make in their restaurants. But the bottom line is, they need to eat like I eat," said Graves.

When asked why he launched the non-profit, Graves said, "My mom showed me how to do this. She would cook every day like there were five people in the house, and I was the only child, and she would come in the salon and give food away, and I thought it was marketing, but it wasn't."

Ivory's mom, Jennie, passed away ten years ago. Back then, Jennie used to run a hair salon called Directions.

Ivory now manages it and is also one of the salons barbers. Ivory says all of this, including 'Love Only,' is one of many ways to honor his mom.

"If she was alive today, what do you think she would say?" asked 7 Action News.

"She would be just in love with me. She loved it when I became a hairdresser. But seeing 'Love Only,' she would cook in there every day," said Graves.

In fact, Graves also has a mural on the building's wall to honor his mom.

"815, that's my mother's birthday. Those funny-looking words there say, 'Jennie,' meaning it's her place," said Graves.

Now, Graves is on a mission. To operate 'Love Only' five days a week and feed up to 750 homeless people. To do so, Graves needs additional funding to support the initiative.

Currently, 'Love Only' is funded by profits from TV Lounge. But Graves believes with the community's help, the kitchen can be expanded.

To donate to and learn more about 'Love Only,' click here.