GRAND RAPIDS — At first blush, it looked as if the terrorist attack against the World Trade Center might have had a secondary impact against the poor in this community.
The Sept. 11 attack created such a demand for donors’ attention that Catholic Human Development Outreach (CHDO) here decided to postpone January’s annual “Soup’s On For All” fundraiser until 2003.
Sue Cook, executive director of CHDO, said the attack in Manhattan and the subsequent war “have focused individual and corporate donors’ attention appropriately on victim assistance and other needs.”
The problem is that individual and corporate donors traditionally have underwritten the Soup’s On fundraiser for God’s Kitchen, normally set for the second Friday in January at the Public Museum’s Van Andel Museum Center.
“In light of what our nation is now facing,” Cook said, “we have decided to postpone this year’s event. While we still need to raise the $100,000 the event usually brings in, we will seek that assistance in other ways.”
Cook said that CHDO definitely plans to host the event again in 2003 and she encourages everybody to keep on painting soup bowls for the next fund-raiser.
The bowls, provided through CHDO by a local manufacturer, are given free to families and school art classes to be decorated for the fund-raiser. The artists then return the bowls for use in the fund-raiser where they are then sold, generating added revenue.
Meanwhile, attack or no attack, Cook said God’s Kitchen still needs funding for next year and CHDO will set about finding other ways of raising those funds.
Another spokeswoman, Deb Kalinka, told the Business Journal that once the Christmas and New Year holidays are over, CHDO will have a better handle on how to raise funds.
But she said with Sept. 11 nearly two months past, she has gotten the impression that alternate means of fund-raising may not be as difficult as everyone thought at first.
Many personal and corporate donors have gotten in touch, she said, to assure CHDO that they will make donations. “This is such an incredibly generous community,” she said.
Information about making donations, obtaining bowls or otherwise funding God’s Kitchen is available by calling Mary K. Hoodhood, (616) 454-4110.
God’s Kitchen feeds hundreds of hungry people in downtown Grand Rapids every day, all year long. God’s Kitchen also runs the Meals on Wheels, Capitol Lunch and Special Delivery programs.
CHDO is a non-profit organization affiliated with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids.
The agency says its mission is to foster a society that is socially, racially and economically just.
To that end, it conducts 13 programs not only to feed the hungry but also shelter the homeless, make strangers welcome and otherwise reach out to marginalized residents of western Michigan.