Thousands of dollars needed to help soup kitchen

GREENFIELD – Leaders at the soup kitchen knew something must be wrong with the air conditioning in July.

Though the kitchen is toasty even on the coldest days, with its steam table, industrial stove top and ovens, volunteers had to don sweatbands to make it through shifts on 90-degree days.

After consulting with a repair business, Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen executive director Jill Ebbert learned the nonprofit’s unit isn’t big enough to effectively cool the kitchen on the hottest days, she said.

Augmenting or replacing it is expected to cost between $4,000 and $12,000 — an alarming number to leaders, especially because early donations for one of the nonprofit’s biggest fundraisers are coming in below average.

Now, soup kitchen leaders are asking for the public’s help. They’re planning two upcoming fundraisers.

The soup kitchen’s annual bowling fundraiser, Strike Out Hunger, slated for Aug. 27, aims to bring in some $30,000 toward the nonprofit’s $132,000 annual budget.

Historically, by mid-August, teams and sponsors have already raised between $12,000 and $15,000, but Ebbert said she has collected only $8,000 so far this year.

They’ll rely on funding from the event to fix the air conditioner, Ebbert said, so meeting their goal is as important as ever.

More than 30 teams have signed up for the bowling fundraiser at Strike Force Lanes and will spent the next few weeks raising money for the soup kitchen, Ebbert said.

On Sept. 13, the kitchen will host a trivia night at the Greenfield Elks Lodge.

In the meantime, two temporary air conditioners donated by an Indianapolis company are providing some relief to the volunteers at the soup kitchen, which provides between 100 and 120 meals per day to people in need, Ebbert said.

The air conditioning problems are the charity’s second infrastructure issue in as many years. Last year, the soup kitchen shelled out some $18,000 for a partial roof replacement on the building at 202 E. Main St. At the time, the Greenfield City Council gave the soup kitchen $10,000 so leaders didn’t have to draw the money from their annual budget.

Ebbert said she’s always grateful for any assistance the public can provide, but she’s growing exasperated with the building’s issues.

“About the time I think everything is going right, something happens, and there I am again, begging furiously,” Ebbert said.

Chris Dobbins-Guill, a longtime volunteer for the nonprofit, has already put together three bowling teams in honor of Patty Dresser, a soup kitchen volunteer who died last October.

It’s a way to remember all the good Dresser did in the community, she said. Though she doesn’t know exactly how much her 14 team members have raised so far, she’s optimistic they will make a difference in Dresser’s memory.

Jan Pitcock, whose been volunteering at the facility since last fall, said giving to the soup kitchen is her way of paying it forward, and she hopes others come together to help.

“It’s such an important thing to feed these people,” she said. “Whatever we do, it has to be for them, because one day, it could be us.”

How to help

Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen must spend $4,000 to $12,000 on its air conditioning unit.

The nonprofit seeks donations toward the repair or replacement costs. To donate, visit kbmsk.org, email kbmskinc@myninestar.net or bring donations to 202 E. Main St., Greenfield, IN 46140.

For more information, call 317-462-9900.

If you go

What: Strike Out Hunger Bowling Fundraiser with a silent auction, prizes, 50/50 drawing, children’s games, face painting and balloon art

When: Noon to 4 p.m. Aug. 27

Where: Strike Force Lanes, 1539 W. Main St., Greenfield

How: To form a team, call 317-462-9900 or email kbmskinc@myninestar.net.

If you go

Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen

Trivia Night

6 p.m. Sept. 13

Greenfield Elks Lodge No. 1720, 820 S. State St., Greenfield, IN 46140

$10 per person

To sign up, call 317-462-9900 or email kbmskinc@myninestar.net.

Author photo
Rorye Hatcher is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at ​317-477-3211 or rhatcher@greenfieldreporter.com.