SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The Kitchen, Inc. is $300,000 short on donations for the year, and it’s cost their organization six jobs, according to the organization’s community development manager, Roz Palmer.
Last year The Kitchen raised more than $1 million in donations, nearly 1/3 of their operating budget.
“Donations are our life blood, and unfortunately they're drastically down,” Palmer said. “We've not filled other positions, and now there's a chance if donations continue to drop that we may have to start looking at cutting programs.”
Palmer says that three positions have already been eliminated due to attrition, two more employees will be let go in January, and one more will be let go at another time to be determined.
“I mean that's hard because everybody that works for The Kitchen, Inc. are so devoted to helping our clients, helping to end homelessness, and so losing even just one person effects the whole organization,” Palmer said.
Leaders at The Kitchen partially blame their new campus (what they call their capital campaign). They are in the middle of constructing a $4 million campus with two new buildings in northeast Springfield. They say that funds donated to the capital campaign can’t be used for general spending, and some people donated to the capital fund instead of the general fund.
Their current facilities in north Springfield are nearly 90 years old, and estimates to renovate the Missouri Hotel alone weighed in at $9 million.
For now, the organization is doing whatever it can to avoid cutting services, which include housing and feeding the homeless in Springfield.
“We've really had to figure out which bills we've wanted to pay when, and unfortunately some of those bills have been late,” Palmer said. “It's just taking every day one step at a time figuring out how we can make it all work.”
Eliminating those six staff positions hurt on more than a personal level. One of the cuts came to the Missouri Hotel, which is no longer staffed 24-7. It could be a safety concern.
“It's the case managers who are on the front line,” Palmer says. “They're the ones working with the clients day in and day out making sure they have what they need to reintegrate into society, and so without the donations to pay those salaries we're losing a huge chunk of what makes The Kitchen so successful.”
They hope donations tick up, but if you can’t donate money, they also need furniture and household supplies to help their clients get started.
You can donate to their general fund by clicking here.