Basic Goodness


In the Great Depression, hobos and other travelers used a system of markings to pass on tips or warnings to their fellow “Knights of the Road.”

A cat carved on the fencepost, for example, meant a kindhearted lady lived in the house.

That was the symbol used for Anna Giebler, according to her great-grandson, Luke Dakotas.

Anna was a good cook. She was also a very generous person who would feed anyone who needed it. Neighbors and family, certainly. But also hobos, the homeless and other strangers who wandered through her Western Kansas town.

A couple of months ago, a group that includes Luke, his mother and father, as well as a number of other family members and friends, opened a restaurant in which they hope to continue two of Anna’s traditions: good food and generosity.

The menu at Anna’s Oven features many of Anna Giebler’s recipes – chicken noodles and meatloaf, for example – as well as recipes from Luke’s father’s side of the family (most notably, the lasagna).

That’s the restaurant’s basic business concept: good, home-cooked food for people who need it. (And the food is good, by the way.)

But many of the group share more than family ties. They’re also “Friends of St. Anne’s Girls’ School,” supporters committed to improving educational opportunities for young girls in Kapkemich, Kenya.

50% of the restaurant’s profits will go to the school.

It’s not a promotional gimmick or marketing ploy.

“We’re not trying to use this as a soapbox,” Luke relays. “We do this because we care.

Doing good may be good for business.

But it’s refreshing when the main objective is just the good itself.