Friday, February 23, 2024

Paper cutouts cavort in an image from a video explaining a community kitchen project that began raising funds Wednesday.

Fundraising has begun for a Cambridge Community Kitchen project on the Kickstarter website, which is used by everyone from rock bands buying recording time to philanthropists helping the needy to gather donations, generally with projects getting started only when a certain amount of money has been vowed.

In this case, Cambridge residents including personal chef J.J. Gonson are looking for $11,111 as a step toward buying the long-empty Massachusetts Avenue restaurant Marino’s, or a similar site, to serve as a home for cooking classes, storage for food distribution and professional-grade, large-scale cooking facilities for chefs such as Gonson, food cart vendors or even home canners. Two people involved in the project hope to use the space to make bacon.

Marino’s, which is favored because of its location and more or less ready-to-use kitchen, is assessed at $1.6 million.

If the $11,111 is raised, the five-member board plans to use it for, among other more mundane expenses, paying for a spring gala as “our next big initiative.” They plan on “creating and serving excellent food in a groovy atmosphere, all of which requires upfront payments,” to inspire the mass giving that will pay for the property.

The project’s minimum Kickstarter pledge is a “spork level” $1, which gets the donator a mention on the project’s website and Facebook page, but there are seven more tiers going all the way up to the “blast freezer level” donation of $10,000 or more, which earns cookies, merchandise, an invitation to the spring gala, lunch for four, a recipe and poem as well as permanent recognition on a kitchen Wall of Fame plaque.

As of Thursday morning, with 88 days to go to the May 2 deadline, the effort had drawn $1,989 in donations from more than two dozen people, putting the project already 18 percent of the way. The Kickstarter site went live only Wednesday morning.