Donors pledge to match up to $78,000 in donations to The Gathering Place
At any point in time here in Lancaster County, more than 40,000 people don't know where their next meal is coming from. As the temperatures drop, The Gathering Place said making sure everyone has a hot, nutritious meal is more important than ever.
Every year, The Gathering Place provides more than 29,000 meals to people in need.
The soup kitchen is mostly funded by donations, and thanks to eight generous donors, if you give to The Gathering Place by the end of the year, your dollar will go twice as far.
Meals are served Monday through Friday, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. and they're completely free.
"We average about 125 people every single night, said Lisa Janssen, The Gathering Place Program Administrator. "It's just nice to know that anyone in need can rely on us for a good meal."
The Gathering Place relies on 1,500 volunteers to make sure everyone is fed.
Jodi Rowlett has been volunteering for almost 10 years.
"I laugh because it's kind of like the old Cheers show, where we've gotten to know a lot of people's names," Rowlett said. "They've gotten to know a lot of our names, and it's just about getting to reconnect every time I volunteer."
In October, the soup kitchen started a donation match campaign with five donors, Acklie Charitable Foundation, Miriam Moeller Charitable Trust, INSPRO Insurance, Union Bank & Trust, and Bukaty Companies.
The goal was to raise $100,000, with $50,000 coming from the community and the other $50,000 coming from these donors.
"When we got going with that support, we got additional sponsors including Rogers Foundation, Nebraska Presybterian Foundation and LIncoln Rotary Club #14 Foundation and they're able to add over $28,000 to that campaign," Janssen said.
The goal now is to maximize the gift, with over $156,000.
"If we had the opportunity to have $156,000, it would not only help with food but with some additional items to make it a more welcoming facility for our clients," Rowlett said.
Janssen said the money would go toward providing more nutritious meals in 2020.
"We want to not only fill the stomachs, but make sure we're filling their stomachs with good, healthy food because that's linked to overall well-being and happiness," Janssen said.
Community Action Partnership, which runs The Gathering Place, is at around 35% of their goal, or $27,000.
to The Gathering Place through Dec. 31.