A Delray Beach soup kitchen is scrambling to find a new place to serve hot meals.
This week, the city commission decided to evict caring kitchen from their building after years of complaints from neighbors.
Caring Kitchen must get out of their 8th street location by October 31.
The people who live near here say they’re glad to see it go. They blame the soup kitchen for bringing violence and drug user into their neighborhood. But the kitchen hopes the community can step up to help them through this transition.
Deborah Greenie is one of the hundreds each day whose lives are changed by the kitchen.
“It gives you a positive outlook and it makes you feel better about yourself when you know that people care about you," she said.
After years of pressure from nearby neighbors, the city commission made the decision on Wednesday.
"This was one of the most hardest decisions I had to make because it deals with the basic function of people being able to eat or not," said Commissioner Mitch Katz.
Delray Beach police said in 2016 alone, the department responded to 125 calls to drug and violent crimes in the area.
An anonymous neighbor shared her frustrations with WPTV.
“It has evolved into something very different from what it began and much of the crime that is happening in the neighborhood I am attributing to all of the interesting personalities for lack of a better word," she said.
She blames a recent attack on her cousin to the hundreds of people attracted to the kitchen.
“At knife point. Not just verbally, at knife point. Totally unacceptable," she said. “I have recently had my mail stolen from my mail box. The checks erased and rewritten for thousands of dollars.”
The kitchen is run by C.R.O.S. Ministries, which operates six food pantries across the county. Development director Gibbie Nauman told me she understands the issues neighbors faced.
"We understand we need to move. We’ve outgrown this location and we just need a little help and time to find the right place that is suitable for everybody," she said. “[The commissioners] believe in our program, they believe in feeding people but it’s time to find a new location."
The kitchen only paid a dollar a year to lease the building from the city, which owns the building. With other programs and six other pantries to run, Nauman says it will be hard to find something that fits within their budget.
“The move is an extra expense that we’re going to incur," said Nauman. "A lot of the places we’ve found over the past couple of months have been way out of our budget, our price range."
C.R.O.S. ministries is working with other churches and organizations to use their facilities until the caring kitchen can get back up and running to continue serving those in need.
“it gives you a positive outlook and it makes you feel better about yourself when you know that people care about you," said Greenie.
Commissioners told me they're now working with the kitchen on a donating land on SW 10th Avenue to build a new facility but the kitchen can't do it alone.
"They need to residents to step up and help them with this capital campaign to build it," said Commissioner Katz.
This building will be able to continue as a food storage facility until August 2018.
They are hoping donations from the community can help them through this transition. Click here if you would like to help or donate.