SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Kitchen delivered good and bad news Tuesday: it reached its $4 million fundraising goal to build a new homeless shelter, meanwhile general revenue has fallen $30,000 a month, cutting staff positions along the way.
One of the people they serve, says The Kitchen’s staff has kept her alive, and now she’s asking for the community’s help to return the favor.
“I was a nurse, you know, I was a mom, I’m a grandma, and aunt,” Belinda Harp said. “I love helping people.”
As her brain injury worsened, she could no longer work, and found herself needing help this time.
“You can’t imagine where you go from one day being a nurse, and the next day you can’t work ’cause your brain’s not working right,” Harp said.
It wasn’t long before she couldn’t afford rent, and moved all her belongings into storage. Harp spent some time living in a tent before being accepted into the Missouri Hotel, which was previously owned by The Kitchen. Now, her and her cat, Simba, live at The Kitchen’s McClernon Villas.
Board of Trustees President Jim Newman says with revenue down $30,000 dollars per month, he’s improvising.
“We’re doing more with less,” Newman said.
Newman said The Kitchen didn’t fill open positions, and eliminated others, but that’s just the short-term impact.
“The long-term effect is doing away with some programs that really have an effect on the community,” Newman said.
Harp said, “That’s so sad, because this program means a lot to us, it really does.”
Although The Kitchen reached its $4 million goal to build a new homeless shelter, Newman says it goes into a different pot.
“We can’t use that at all for operating expenses of The Kitchen,” he said.
Now that the family who helped Harp get back on her feet is struggling to find its footing, Harp is asking for a hand once again.
“Anyone thinking about helping this program, please, it is so worth it, and we thank you,” she said.
The Kitchen says if you can’t afford to donate money, they’d love to take any blankets, hand-warmers, or clothing you don’t need. So as you organize your winter closet, if there’s anything you can spare, send it their way.