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Fulton Soup Kitchen unexpectedly shuts doors

Fulton Soup Kitchen unexpectedly shuts doors

Temporarily will serve simple meals at Wiley House

January 12th, 2018 by Jenny Gray in Local News

Members of the Fulton Kiwanis Club cut up a dump cake made from white cake mix and pineapple to serve at the Fulton Soup Kitchen in August 2015.

The Fulton Soup Kitchen is no longer serving meals out of its former location at the Fulton Housing Authority's community building.

Instead, Brad Sheppard, director of Our House: Caring for Callaway's Homeless, will let soup kitchen volunteers serve simple meals from the Wiley House facility, 829 Jefferson St. in Fulton. The first meal will be available at 4:30 p.m. Monday.

"We'll just kind of serve as a distribution stop," Sheppard said. "It will be a simple meal — soup and a sandwich to go. We don't have space for people to stop by and sit."

Anne Erbschloe, who served as president and a volunteer with the Fulton Soup Kitchen for more than 15 years, said the soup kitchen had served meals at the John C. Harris Community Center for about a decade. Before that, meals were served from the Haven House facility at Our House, Sheppard said.

No rent money was exchanged and there was no contract between the two organizations, officials said, but the Fulton Soup Kitchen had installed a commercial stove, freezers and most of its own equipment, Erbschloe said.

Current Fulton Soup Kitchen president Katherine Bader said she hopes to hear about a new location this weekend.

"It should be ready to run by Tuesday," she said, adding she didn't wish to name the new site until agreements had been struck officially.

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After a FHA board meeting Wednesday afternoon, soup kitchen president Katherine Bader received a message from FHA Executive Director Anne Johnson informing her the FHA was suspending meal services until members of both boards of directors could discuss some recent concerns.

Johnson said she hadn't expected the Fulton Soup Kitchen to relocate.

"That was a total surprise to me; I had no idea they were going to do that," Johnson said Friday. "The board's intent was never to have the soup kitchen leave our building."

The last meal served by the Fulton Soup Kitchen was Tuesday evening, Bader said. Since then, temperatures have fallen to single digits in Fulton and by Monday night could go below zero degrees.

"It's ridiculously cold, and my people are not eating right now," Bader added. "That soup kitchen is my passion. Those people mean the world to me."

At the beginning of the month, when people receive payments such as Social Security, pensions and supplemental income, fewer people come to eat than later in the month.

"We might get 30, 35 people at the beginning of the month, 50-60 by the middle of the month, and 70 or so by the end of the month," Bader said.

She thinks the meal sites under consideration could offer the Fulton Soup Kitchen a bright future.

"I also believe God moves in mysterious ways," Bader added. "I would go to the ends of the Earth and help people. That is just my outreach."