The Kitchen, Inc. receives donation for new campus

Published: Oct. 10, 2016 at 5:44 PM CDT
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Though it is difficult to know exactly how many people are homeless in Springfield, statistics show one in four people lives in poverty.

Now a longtime Springfield group that helps those families find housing, The Kitchen, Inc., has a chance to do even more, and it begins with a new location.

"The 50 bed shelter we have on our campus will move over here. It will be on the other piece of the property on the other side of the fence," Rorie Orgeron, of The Kitchen, Inc., explained Monday.

Orgeron outlined plans for some prime real estate off Chestnut and Glenstone in north Springfield. The now empty lot was once home to a Wendy's restaurant and until recently was owned by Sam and June Hamra.

"Unless the community addresses this problem, it's going to continue to grow," Sam Hamra said.

Passionate about helping people struggling with homelessness, the Hamras decided to make the valuable property available for The Kitchen.

"So that we can get everybody adequate housing and get them off the street, especially women and children, and this is the best way to do it," Hamra said.

The charity serves an estimated 12 to 15,000 people a year, Orgeron said.

"Without The Kitchen and a program like the 'Home At Last' program, it feels like it's impossible to get back on your feet," said Michael Raymond, a veteran who was homeless before finding help at The Victory Mission and The Kitchen.

The Kitchen helped Raymond connect with the services he needed to get a place of his own and start working again.

"Out of the gutter, into an emergency housing environment to then being able to live here, to where you have a foundation to truly get back on your feet with some dignity," Raymond said.

It is a story The Kitchen staff have seen time and time again as they make housing available and truly possible for people close to giving up.

This new campus will offer better access to major thoroughfares and public transportation, and Orgeron said it help them reach even more people in need.