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Food Kitchen closes in on fundraising goals for new facility

The Open Door Food Kitchen could soon be serving hot meals at a new location.

Posted: Sep 6, 2018 5:37 PM
Updated: Sep 6, 2018 6:25 PM

(St.Joseph,MO) The Open Door Food Kitchen could soon be serving hot meals at a new location. After over a year of fundraising the Open Door Food Kitchen has raised over 80 percent of the funding needed to build a new facility at 619 S. 8th Street.

The kitchen held a groundbreaking ceremony for their 8th Street location in December, but the construction was put on hold due to funding issues.

Joe Houtus, Chair of the Open Door Food Kitchen Fundraising Committee, said they have bounced back to raise approximately $730,000 of the funds needed to build a new facility.

"We've made great strides in the last three or four months on what we felt was a significant shortfall," Houtus said."Hopefully in the next month or two we'll have the money in hand and they can begin construction whenever the weather is appropriate.”

Marsha Rosenthal serves as the President for the Open Door Food Kitchen Board of Directors and said the new facility will have more space to serve more people.

"Our numbers have gone up considerably and we need the operational funds in order to meet the needs that we need in order to feed these people," Rosenthal said. “It used to be anywhere from 125 to 150 [people], now it’s gone up from 150 to 200, sometimes more than that.”

Rosenthal said with the closing of other nutrition programs at places like the Salvation Army, more people are visiting the Open Door Food Kitchen in search of a hot meal.

"People do understand what we do here and that we've been here a long time. Sometimes I don't think they get the in depth understand of what goes on down here and just what a family we are," Executive Director of the Open Door Food Kitchen Kelly Conant said.

Rosenthal said many of the kitchen’s patrons are homeless or don’t make a liveable wage, but the senior population also makes up a large portion of their clientele.

“Our seniors, a lot of them have to make a decision as to whether they want to eat or take their medicine. It’s a complicated process and we do as much as we can in order to feed them good, hearty, nutritious meals,” Rosenthal said.

The kitchen’s fundraising campaign has had support from a variety of donors.

"Anywhere from individuals that don't have a lot, to our big companies and individuals with significant money. It's all across the board which is the fun thing about campaigns like this, you see people's heart really come out,"Houtus said.

The city also played a big part in the planning of the new food kitchen. The city is currently paying the utilities and insurance on the building until the kitchen can afford to move into their new location.
“The city stepped up and put in about $325,000 towards the funds for this [project]. They bought the 8th Street lots, they bought this building and the deeds were exchanged,”Houtus said. “Everything has been held in escrow, even the funds we’ve collected until we are there and everyone is ready to get the shovels back out.”

Unlike the kitchen’s current location on Edmond, the new building will be ADA compliant. Administrators said the building will be a 4,700 square foot, stand alone, single level structure with additional on-site parking for patrons and volunteers in the back.

The Open Door Food Kitchen still needs to raise $20,000 to cover the cost of the constructing a new building, as well as additional funds to cover the cost of new kitchen appliances.

"The kitchen equipment we're estimated could run about $150,000. We're still working on that and that's what we really still need money for,"Houtus said.

The total cost to build and furnish the new food kitchen will be approximately $900,000. To help raise the remaining funds the food kitchen will be hosting a golf tournament.

The Open Door, Open Your Heart Golf Tournament will be Friday, September 28 at the Fairview Golf Course at 1 pm. For more information on the tournament or to make a donation contact Kelly Conant at 816-364-1085.

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