Q&A with Jan Haberly: Director of the Lord’s Diner

There are certain people in the community who make the city so much better.

Jan Haberly with The Lord’s Diner

Our latest guest in the Q&A series is one of them. I had the pleasure of meeting her back in 2007 when my friends and I first volunteered at the Lord’s Diner, a local soup kitchen that serves meals out to those in need 365 days of the year.

That lady is Jan Haberly who has been the Director of the Lord’s Diner for the past five years. Under her leadership, the Lord’s Diner has grown immensely and now has a larger footprint in the city. With the holiday season ahead of us, I couldn’t imagine a better guest than Jan. She’s certainly someone whose work in the community deserves more recognition and appreciation.


Eddy: Jan, welcome to the Wichita By E.B. Q&A Series. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Jan Haberly: I was born and raised on the west side of Wichita near Friends University. I attended Catholic schools. I have 4 siblings. My husband Ken and I have been married 43 years (11/24/16). We have three children all married with 8 total grand-kids 10 years old and under. Our family had been in the restaurant business for the last 20+ years. We decided at some point we’d like to move in another direction. This meant I took the job as Volunteer coordinator for The Lord’s Diner in 2005 and later the Director position in 2011.   

The Staff

Eddy: And a very well deserved position for you after all the hours you spent working as a Volunteer Coordinator. For those that don’t know about what the Lord’s Diner is, could you delve into what you guys do?

Jan: The Lord’s Diner established in 2002 is a non-profit “soup kitchen”. We serve a hot meal each day, no question asked, to the homeless, mentally and physically disabled, the unemployed and underemployed including many children. This is accomplished with the cooperation of over 75 volunteers each day and an amazing staff of 11 dedicated individuals.  

Eddy: How many locations are there now?

Jan: We have 2 fixed sites. 520 N. Broadway which is in our 14th year and at 2825 So. Hillside which is in the 5th year. Our first Mobile truck has been serving the neighborhood around the Evergreen Rec. Center for three years while our second truck has been serving the Hilltop neighborhood  for two years. We also have a third Truck that will be serving the area around the Atwater Neighborhood Center starting this month.  

Eddy: And there’s more isn’t there?

Jan: And in mid December 2016 we will open a fixed site in Pittsburg, KS. Crawford county, where Pittsburg is located, is one of the poorest countries in Kansas.

Eddy: It’s amazing how much The Lord’s Diner has grown. When I first served, it was just one fixed location on Broadway now you have expanded to multiple locations and even the trucks. Exactly how does the Mobile Food Truck work out?

Jan: The mobile feeding program has been a great new concept for us. We are able to reach more in our city experiencing hunger; some with very few resources while others needing our services only on occasion like the end of each month when money is tight. We locate at the same 3 sites Monday through Friday 4:00 to 6:00pm.    

Eddy: For all the time you’ve been with The Lord’s Diner, what has been your favorite part of your job?

Jan: The very diverse group of people we serve including our volunteers who are given the opportunity to serve. All ages, all religions, all backgrounds and professions come together to serve or be served.    

Eddy: I can attest it’s a very rewarding experience. Wichita is one of the more giving and thoughtful communities. People in our city have always done a great job in showing support for great causes. How does one get involved with volunteering?

Jan: The process is fairly simple. We match our needs with your schedule to find a spot for you to join us serving others. The requirements are a food handlers, card and a class on safe environment. 

We have several different shifts to choose from. Contact our volunteer coordinator Sheryl at 266-4966 for details. 

Eddy: Are there other ways people can help without showing up?

Jan: We always need financial support or in kind gifts of items we use. You can visit our website for our “wish list“.

Eddy: You mentioned earlier your family has been in the restaurant industry for quite some time so this next question should be very simple for you. Outside of work, where are your three favorite places to eat in town?

Jan: The Pump House, Mediterranean Grill, and our daughters house. She is a great cook! 

Eddy: Well that does it from my end Jan. I want to thank you again for taking part in our Q&A Series. It’s people like you who really make our city so much better. Any final words?

Jan: Wichita is an amazing community and we are blessed to be a part of it.

Eddy: …..and we are blessed to have you a part of it.

The Lord’s Diner has always been one of my favorite organizations in town. The many years I spent there volunteering are times I’ll always cherish. If you’re looking for ways to give back to the community, the Lord’s Diner is a great way. Whether it’s once a month, every other month, they can fit around your schedule. Check out their website for more information.

If you know of anybody that would be great as a guest of the Wichita By E.B. Q&A Series, feel free to e-mail me at wichitabyeb@gmail.com. I’m looking for anybody who impacts Wichita in any sort of way whether they be business owners, restaurateurs, volunteers, whomever. Thank you!


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