- Michael Cooper Staff Writer
A local credit union has donated a building to the Springfield Soup Kitchen, which will create more space for its facility on West Main Street where it serves meals to the needy.
The IH Credit Union recently merged with the former Robbins and Myers Credit Union after the manufacturer went out of business. Robbins and Myers left the area last year, meaning the credit union took over the empty 800-square foot space at 1631 W. Main St., IH Credit Union Vice President of Finance Elaine Doane said.
IH Credit Union’s board ultimately decided to give the building to charity, she said. The property transfer is expected to be completed in a few weeks.
“They were very supportive of the Springfield community,” Doane said. “They wanted to make sure that if the building could be used, it could be used by someone who definitely needed it. … Hopefully they’ll be able to maximize the space.”
The gift came unexpectedly and at a time the soup kitchen, located nearby at 830 W. Main St., needed it the most, Springfield Soup Kitchen President Fred Stegner said.
“It’s like a blessing from heaven,” Stegner said. “We just have enough space here for feeding everyone and cooking.”
The new building will be used for office space and storage, Stegner said.
“We’re so grateful,” he said. “It’s a beautiful building. It’s nice and clean and low-maintenance.”
With extra storage, it will also allow more people to eat dinner, he said. It will also allow them to store large donations of supplies, such as dry goods, rather than use them right away.
“It gives us so many more options,” Stegner said. “We can feed more people now and accommodate more by not having them stand at the door.”
He’s also working on finding more parking to accommodate its nearly 60 volunteers each week, he said. The soup kitchen feeds about 250 people every Monday and Wednesday evening, Stegner said. The kitchen has been in operation for eight years, including five years at its West Main Street location.
The soup kitchen didn’t have adequate funding to purchase extra space, Stegner said.
“It wouldn’t have been possible,” he said.