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'Lord's Diner' coming to Pittsburg - KOAM TV 7

'Lord's Diner' coming to Pittsburg

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PITTSBURG, KANSAS -

The City of Pittsburg's Tuesday evening meeting secured the backing needed for a "Lord's Diner" soup kitchen location to come to town.

Through the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, individual donors, and $130,000 from the city's revolving loan fund, the Lord's Diner plans to set up shop by the end of 2016.

"I think it's the most fantastic thing ever. I mean we have an opportunity now where our folks are going to be fed every single day. A hot meal," executive director of the Wesley House, Marcee Binder said.

The Wesley House has been the primary source of nutrition for the area's under-served, serving upwards of 18,000 duplicate clients their meals last year.

"Any time the community can come together and help our people, that's a win in my book. And that means that shows there are other people that care about those who are under-served just as much as we do. And that means a lot to me," Binder said.

Binder ventured a guess that the soup kitchen location will make Wesley House's numbers go down, which will allow them to stretch their resources to potentially more nutritious foods.

Pittsburg city commissioners asked questions and talked to Joe Dellasega, who represented the Catholic Diocese at the commission meeting.

"Unfortunately here in Pittsburg, as many great things are going on here in Pittsburg there's still an issue of a food depravity issue that's a bit above the state average, hunger is a real issue in southeast Kansas," Dellasega said.

City manager Daron Hall agreed that the problem is present in town.

"Feeding people in an area like this where we have a lot of challenges is something we all take serious, it's one of our highest priorities and it's something that when we have an option to participate based on the merits of the partners we have, it looked like something we probably needed," Hall said.

Of the benefits of proper nutrition is also a more work-ready workforce.

"When you're talking about a workforce development, it's one of the things people need to have to a full belly when they go to bed at night so they can get up in the mornings and put in a hard day's work. That's just one of the critical components of it and I think it resonates with the community," Hall said.

The $130,000 from the city's revolving loan fund is available now, but Dellasega and the Catholic Diocese of Wichita still have some details to straighten out.

"While it's not an end-all solution, it's just part of augmenting or supplementing all of the other great people out there and ministries that are already working," Dellasega said.

The groups hope to have an operational Lord's Diner in motion by November of 2016.

"The contribution is financial in nature but there's a ton of volunteerism that's going to be associated with this project, and I know the city has written letters of support for the past year and a half as this was being planned. So we can hopefully get the city people and myself and my family to volunteer and make it work," Hall said.

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