More soup kitchens needed
PADUCAH — When you think of franchises, you may think of places like fast food restaurants, expanding and moving to new locations.
But it's a sign of the times: business is booming at soup kitchens. So much so that a volunteer is leaving one kitchen and opening up one of her own in another town.
This volunteer said she had no idea just how many people were hungry until she started helping out. Right now, she doesn't have everything she needs to start a location of her own but she has the faith that will change.
It's the end of another week at the Paducah Community Kitchen and coordinator Sally Michelson remembers its humble beginnings.
"We had 37 people that first week. This past year, we served over 40,000 meals," Michelson said.
What's more, that explosive growth occurred in just three years.
"They'll know we'll always, we'll be here, it doesn't make any difference what the weather is. We'll be here."
But she couldn't do it without her helpers. So saying goodbye to one of her hardest workers is bittersweet.
Volunteer Marcella Perkins is leaving this kitchen.
"It's just something I felt deep inside and I kept thinking if there's a need here in Paducah like this, there must be a need in Marshall County," Perkins said.
She's crossing county lines to start one of her own.
She doesn't have a building but has her eye on vacant restaurants and empty buildings.
"I just pray God will open the door," she said.
She's hopeful something will come through.
"They've mentioned a few places in Marshall County that would be a possibility," she said.
Marcella fears a school lunch is all that some kids are getting. In fact, 53 percent of elementary students in the county are on free or reduced lunches. That's why she wants to open her kitchen by the time school lets out this summer.
But it's not just the kids she's worried about. Her kitchen will help everyone, no questions asked, but only if she gets the help she needs.
As far as the children in Marshall County, school-based Family Resource Centers do help provide food for families when school is out. But Michelson wants to provide more.
If you'd like to learn more about this new kitchen or help out, there will be a community meeting on Monday evening, at 6:30 p.m. at the Woodmen of the World building in Benton, Kentucky.