2007-08-17 / Local News

Gaffney Soup Kitchen in desperate need of funds

By JOE L. HUGHES II Ledger Staff Writer joe@gaffneyledger.com

Volunteers at the Gaffney Soup Kitchen take a look at some of the fruits and vegetables donated to the facility, which serves the poor and homeless population in the city. Ledger photo by JOE HUGHES II Volunteers at the Gaffney Soup Kitchen take a look at some of the fruits and vegetables donated to the facility, which serves the poor and homeless population in the city. Ledger photo by JOE HUGHES II Within a few weeks, the Gaffney Soup Kitchen might have to shut down, leaving a lot of the city's poor and homeless population without food.

The kitchen, located on 119 E. Birnie St., was started a few years ago by the Greater Gaffney Ministerial Association (GGMA), serving 50 to 75 people on a daily basis.

If the facility is forced to cease operations, a lot of hungry people will suffer, said Broad River Baptist Association Director Donnie Padgett.

"For many of the poor and homeless it is their only hot meal each day," Padgett said. "It will be a sad day if we have to close the soup kitchen."

Officials were forced to buy a new freezer and icemaker recently, putting a big dent in the organization's checkbook. Currently, four churches and one Sunday School class send checks on a monthly basis, totalling approximately $400.

But with $1,200 going out each month to pay rent, utilities and other essential goods, things do not look promising.

"As of today, we have $500 in the soup kitchen account," Padgett said. "If we are to keep the doors open we need around 10 to 12 churches, individuals and businesses to commit around $100 each month. This will give us a safety net and will take us off this roller coaster we have been on this summer."

It's a shortage of funds, not food, that's the problem.

"The community has been wonderful with the giving of food," Padgett said. "We have many grocery stores, food industries and individuals providing plenty of food. Food is definitely not the problem."

If the situation is not resolved by the end of September, the soup kitchen's doors will close, setting off what Padgett believes will be several problems.

"I have three concerns - that the people of the streets will be hungry; they will be approaching churches, downtown businesses and individuals asking for money or food; and then there's the fact a hungry person will do desperate things. The GGMA brings this need before the good people of Gaffney believing the community will respond."

For questions or more information, please contact Padgett at (864) 489-3119 or Rev. Patricia Dawkins at (864) 489-3996.

Donations can be sent to the Soup Kitchen at P.O. Box 534, Gaffney, SC, 29342.

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