The Kitchen Inc. seeks community support to house homeless this Summer

Published: Jun. 14, 2016 at 5:49 PM CDT
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While many of you are planning summer vacations to get out of town, many homeless still struggle to get off the streets. A Springfield agency that shelters the homeless is in serious need of support to put a roof over more heads this Summer.

Jason and Machelle Chappell say they and their dog Jake just got to Springfield from the Branson area, but they've been homeless for 10 months. Jason says, "I wasn't able to pass the physicals to keep my job." Machelle says, "He collapsed and we found out he had a heart problem."

They hope to soon find a home. "If you don't have a safe, warm place to be, you worry about what you're going to eat and who's going to hurt you. It makes you feel like you don't have any hope," Machelle says.

Dale Harper says an accident where a pickup rolled on him has left him jobless and in constant pain. Wearing a plastic brace in the heat brings more suffering. "A mile and I've got to stop and get something to drink," says Harper.

Even if a homeless person can find a shady spot or an air conditioned place to keep cool, they most likely have to walk everywhere, including to find a meal, and that can be pretty miserable in the Summer. "You hear about people freezing to the death in the winter time. But people also die of heat stroke in the summer time, and the homeless are that much more vulnerable than we are," says Rorie Orgeron, CEO of The Kitchen Inc.

The Kitchen helped more than 600 people with housing last year. But right now, they're $200,000 behind on their operating budget, because donations have dropped. "People go on vacations, and you know, their focus just shifts," Orgeron says.

The closing of the Missouri Hotel and shift to putting people in permanent housing has also confused some donors. Orgeron says, "We're still providing the services, and we're just doing it in a little bit different way."

To continue, they need the community's support. And hundreds more will have cool place to call home. "That would change everything," says Machelle.

To donate to The Kitchen Inc. you can call (417)837-1500, send a donation by mail to 1630 N. Jefferson, Springfield, MO 65803 or donate online at