Duke Energy donates $12.5k to Hoke County Open Door Soup Kitchen

By Catharin Shepard • Editor • The Hoke County Open Door Soup Kitchen, which is seeing an increase in need in the community, will use a $12,500 grant from Duke Energy to help feed more people.

The soup kitchen takes action to help people in need in the community by giving away boxes of groceries, helping people pay utilities and helping to put homeless individuals in hotel rooms when possible.

Betty Perkins of the Open Door Soup Kitchen said in a statement that the nonprofit is “immensely grateful for the Duke Energy Foundation’s generous $12,500 Basic Needs Services Capacity Building grants program award.” 

“This invaluable support will be instrumental in driving positive change within our community, it will enable us to provide vital volunteer stipends, enhance staff training and development, launch impactful community outreach and awareness campaigns, expand our meal program to serve more individuals in need, upgrade equipment and implement robust monitoring and evaluation measures,” Perkins said. “With this grant we are empowered to make an even greater impact in addressing food insecurity and supporting those facing challenges in Hoke and surrounding counties. Together with Duke Energy Foundation, we are committed to creating sustainable solutions and transforming lives for the better. We are extremely thankful.”

The funding came at a good time for the organization. The Open Door Soup Kitchen has been running out of food each time it opens for giveaways, Rev. Al Anderson said. The organization has a lot of support from the community, but even so, it’s “barely able to handle the crowds that are coming,” Anderson said. 

“Our numbers have increased, and this money we received from Duke Energy will help us to make adjustments to feed more people,” he said.

The Open Door Soup Kitchen is also looking down the road to some big-ticket needs. 

“One of the main things we’re looking for is a new building,” Anderson said.

The soup kitchen has operated out of its current facility on Turnpike Road near Upchurch Elementary School for the past several years, but the location isn’t ideal due to the increase in need in the community.

“We need a new location, the building we are currently in is not able to handle the number of people we are seeing,” Anderson said. 

The nonprofit also needs a walk-in refrigerator and a walk-in freezer to help support its mission of feeding the hungry. The soup kitchen has a committee that is hard at work to find a new location.

Anderson thanked the volunteers and the many people in the community who have been providing support and assistance.

“The public has been helping us a lot. The community has gotten very involved in what is happening at the soup kitchen,” he said. 

That support is helping to make sure the soup kitchen “endures into the future,” Anderson said. 

The Open Door Soup Kitchen right now is seeking people to serve on a fundraiser committee to help prepare for a series of fundraising events that will support the organization’s mission. Frank Toledo of the Knights of Columbus and Anderson himself are heading of the committee. The first event is set for noon-4 p.m. on September 9, with a food truck rodeo featuring food from different cultures. The event will be in the Walmart parking lot.

More fundraisers to help the soup kitchen will be set after that date. For more information or to get involved, call (404) 971-7408.

The $12,500 grant was part of $1 million total in grants that Duke Energy awarded to support community assistance programs in North Carolina. The funds are meant to help 39 nonprofits “that have experienced increased demand for services,” and which support people facing challenges such as hunger and homelessness.

“Duke Energy’s long-term success is deeply intertwined with the wellbeing of the communities we serve,” Duke Energy North Carolina President Kendal Bowman said in a statement. “Many nonprofits have experienced unprecedented demand in the last few years. These grants focus on building nonprofits’ capacities so they can meet the increased need.”

The Duke Energy Foundation provides philanthropic support to meet the needs of communities where Duke Energy customers live and work. The Foundation contributes more than $30 million annually in charitable gifts and is funded by Duke Energy shareholder dollars. More information about the Foundation can be found at duke- energy.com/foundation.

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