Kim Allen is a longtime resident and business owner in Hazelwood. Her restaurant, Fat Rai’s is only one of two eateries in the neighborhood where residents can drop in for a quick meal. Most recently, Fat Rai’s provided food and beverages for the Gladstone school series, where residents and stakeholders collaborated successfully in order to acquire the abandoned middle school for potential community use. Kim has a strong desire to help her fellow neighbors and is committed to contributing to the continued success of Hazelwood.
Editor’s Note: Each month, the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group highlights a member organization or a community leader working to improve their neighborhood. This month, they are featuring Kim Allen, a resident, business owner, and community leader from Hazelwood.
PCRG: How long have you lived and/or worked in Hazelwood?
Kim: I’ve lived in the 15207 zip code for 9 years and my store has been here for 1 year.
PCRG: In your opinion what makes Hazelwood special?
Kim: It’s the kids, there’s still hope in saving the youth through education and neighborhood programming.
PCRG: What is one way you’d like to get more involved with your neighborhood?
Kim: I think feeding them is definitely a way because for the most part if they can’t afford a meal they know that they can come here and still get something to eat. Also, just showing them (residents) that we can survive – anybody can do it if they put their mind to it. We’re in Hazelwood where there aren’t many Black owned businesses, so as far as food and nutrition, therefore I feel as if I’m contributing to the community in ways its not being helped right now.
PCRG: In your opinion, what are some resources lacking in the Hazelwood area?
Kim: Definitely a good question. We need a grocery store, maybe a little dollar store. We also need a gym/recreation center for the kids or some kind of education center. We have the library and that’s definitely great but they need something outside of that where they can go and/or a place where adults can interact with their kids for a low cost.
PCRG: What’s your opinion on incoming and ongoing development happening in Hazelwood?
Kim: It depends if they’re realistic about being true to our community, where there’s no bait and switch or they aren’t setting us [residents] up for failure or putting development here that they KNOW isn’t beneficial to Hazelwood as a community. But like I said they just have to be straightforward with long-term residents and make sure whatever they do is for the greater good of the community.