Greenfield soup kitchen requests emergency funding

GREENFIELD — The local soup kitchen needs at least $23,000 to address an issue with its stove, and local governments are chipping in to ease the burden on the nonprofit facility.

The Greenfield City Council voted recently to give $12,000 to the Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen, 202 E. Main St., Greenfield. The funding will help the kitchen address an emergency.

Recently, a new commercial stove arrived at the facility, an expense the community helped support. Days later, kitchen leaders learned they were without a vital piece for their new equipment to function safely. The fire marshal informed them they need to install a hood system to go along with the new stove, an expense estimated to cost more than $23,000.

Kitchen leaders have until March to do so, Jill Ebbert, the soup kitchen’s director, told the Greenfield City Council.

She requested $10,000 of emergency funding, saying while shouldering the expense wouldn’t force the kitchen to close its doors, it would be a major hit to the facility’s budget — about $11,000 a month.

Greenfield leaders exceeded her request, granting $12,000 to the soup kitchen from the city’s riverboat fund, which carries a balance of about $900,000.

Ebbert has also asked the Hancock County Council and other local groups to chip in, including Hancock Health. Before the city council’s contribution, she had about $27,000 on hand.

Ebbert said purchasing the equipment and installing it would cost at least $23,000. The system would need to be vented through the roof, which would come at an additional cost.

The soup kitchen serves 2,800 free meals a month to area residents who need it Monday through Friday.

The kitchen also provides clothing and other necessities to those in need, including sack lunches when the kitchen is closed during the weekend.

Keely Butrum made note the soup kitchen requested less than $10,000 from the city during budget negotiations last fall, one of the only nonprofits that requested funding to do so.

Council member Mitch Pendlum recommended the board give a little extra than what Ebbert requested to make sure there’s plenty of funding to address the issue.

“You cannot put a price tag on what you and your staff does for this city,” he said.

“It’s a special place,” Ebbert responded.

Council member Joe Skavarenina had one request in granting the funding: start an emergency fund.

The city council might not always be in the position to be able to give emergency funding, he said.

Ebbert said the soup kitchen board has already discussed starting a rainy day fund with any money donated that doesn’t go toward the stove hood.

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or