Updated: Jun 24
In the fall of 2019 Free Hot Soup Northland had outgrown our space in our garage and we needed a more permeant place to store our supplies. One of our active members, Lilly, knew the church leaders at Englewood Baptist Church not far from us. Their congregation had dwindled from a few hundred down to just 25 people. As a result they had a very large building (actually a few) that they sat mostly empty. In an effort to put it to use they were looking to share their space with other groups whos goals matched their ministry. After I met with them briefly they offered us one of those spots free of charge.
We began in their residency building until they needed to close it to do some restoration work and they moved us in with their food pantry. Then when Covid hit the pantry shut down and we sort of annexed that space too. And that's how we've operated for more than a year now.
The endowment fund for the building has apparently dwindled leading Mike, Mark and the other church leaders to reach out to another group, A Turning Point, about taking over management of the buildings. This put us in a bit of a pickle as we now have to negotiate with a new entity, all be it a friendly one. I met with the director of this group, Cathy, and she laid out two possible avenues to pursue. First we can sign a contract with them and pay them rent then continue on as we have (plus rent) or we can become an outreach arm of their organization with funding and full use of the facilities.
I met with my leadership team and then again with Cathy and the decision was made to submit for inclusion as one of their programs. While we were gone on vacation Bethany and Stephanie met with the review board and all signs point to it being a positive experience for all. We are waiting on word back but it looks like we will soon no longer be "Free Hot Soup Northland". Which reminds me, we needed to come up with another name...