Mayor Van Johnson Presents Key to the City to Retired Executive Chef


Alfreda Payne has been serving hot meals to the homeless and hungry at Emmaus House Soup Kitchen in Savannah Georgia for 20 years. She officially retired in December of 2019. On Friday January 31st, the Emmaus House community came together to celebrate the impact that her hard work and love has had on those experiencing homelessness and hunger. Mayor Van Johnson presented Alfreda with a Key to the City; the first presentation of this kind that he has done since taking office on January 1st. “It is important to show appreciation where appreciation is due,” Says Mayor Van Johnson “I’ve been very intentional about everything I’ve done in the first 31 days…that everything I’ve done had a real purpose. Today I wanted to do something very meaningful that really exemplifies what our city is really about.”

Emmaus House Executive Director Ariana Berksteiner explains, “It is difficult to put into words what Alfreda has done to the Emmaus House program. Not only did she feed peoples stomachs, but she fed their hearts and souls as well. She makes people feel welcome; that’s just who she is. She has set the standard for where your heart needs to be in order to work or volunteer in an environment like this one. She will be sorely missed, but she will forever be a part of this kitchen.”

3 thoughts on “Mayor Van Johnson Presents Key to the City to Retired Executive Chef”

  1. I was proud to be there to honor Freda’s contribution, and thoroughly impressed by Mayor Johnson’s return from Atlanta’s legislative sessions to present her with the key to the city….a perfect tribute.

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