NEOSHO, Mo — A Neosho organization helped change a mans life and now he’s working to make sure others know they can get the same help.
How has the organization made a difference in the community?
Hope Kitchen has been giving hot meals to those in need for four years now.
But it’s not just food, they also encourage its visitors to get back on their feet and try again.
I spoke with a gentleman who goes there every week and he believes the city would not be the same without it.
“There was no place like that out of here in town. If you were hungry a lot of people just went hungry.”
Zachary Lair has been homeless in Neosho for the past 3 months.
He has been staying at the Restoration Life Center for shelter but when he needs a hot meal, he goes to Hope Kitchen.
“I had a good job, I had an apartment, I had everything, TV, nice stuff and I was drinking hard core, drinking really bad.”
Lair was hesitant to go at first.
“To me I’m a very prideful person, I’m like I don’t want to go and people look at me like I’m nothing.”
But that’s far from how he was treated when he walked in.
“Going down there and after meeting all of these people down there they don’t make you feel that way. It’s like a little hometown cafe.”
3 nights a week, volunteers at Hope Kitchen will serve anyone a hot-meal regardless of a person’s age, social, economic or physical status.
Desiree Bridges, Director of Hope Kitchen said, “We have several groups that serve regally each month and that has been a huge blessing because we have been able to rely on right volunteers at the right time.”
In the beginning, almost 200 people came to the kitchen.
Now it’s under 140.
But that’s not a bad thing.
“For us, if our numbers are declining that means we are doing something right. We’re helping people, they are getting the help they need and it helps them get back on their feet and then they are able to move on and not rely on our services anymore.”
“Hope Kitchen has done so much. I like to go and actually maybe volunteer down there or even help with whatever they need. I mean, they have done so much to help me out,” said Lair
Lair says he hasn’t taken a drink of alcohol for 3 months and he wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for taking that first step into the kitchen months ago.