Open Door has received a generous donation that will mean big changes for their soup kitchen.

"The Ditzfeld Center, at the corner of Pettis and Moniteau, has been gifted to us," said Jack Menges with Open Door. "We're going to be fundraising to build this kitchen. Duke Manufacturing is going to donate a lot of the equipment, but we still need to come up with about $160,000 to build a 2,000 square foot commercial-type kitchen. We've got about $17,000 raised, so we've got about $143,000 to go. We'd like to have the big part of that by March or April so that we can break ground and start in."

"We're really appreciative of the Ditzfeld family for this great gift," said Open Door's Bill Turner. "We can't thank them enough. We're dedicated to continuing on their legacy on that property. For twenty years they've been doing great things for the community on that property and we're dedicated to building upon what they've done."

Menges says that current programs at the Ditzfeld Center will continue alongside the Open Door soup kitchen. "The programs that are there are not being thrown out of there. The first thing that goes through people's mind is, 'Oh my gosh, what's going to happen to Community Cafe and the evening meal?' What we propose to do is to make an addition to the building, not remodel what's there, so they can continue to operate. We've met with them and assured them that we're going to do everything we can to help their program succeed."

"Since we are now serving on the east side of town, and will be eventually be moving to the northwest side of town, we want all of our patrons to know that we're not leaving them," said Turner. "We will be opening up a second serving location on the east side. We'll be preparing the meals at the new building at the Ditzfeld center, serving there, also, but then transporting over (to the east side location, which has not yet been identified). There's a significant number of people that do not have the resources to be able to travel from the east side to the new location to eat, so we're not going to leave them out. We're going to take care of them."

The Open Door soup kitchen is currently serving out of St. Patrick's church basement.

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