New facility offers hope, outreach for homeless
By Chris Fish
MELBOURNE - Leaders of a local soup kitchen plan to open a new, expanded facility this August in an attempt to better fight poverty.
"This (new facility) is going to give us a better situation for clients and an opportunity to help them out of poverty," said John Farrell, executive director of Daily Bread Inc. "It's not just a Band-Aid to get from today to tomorrow."
The new facility, located next to the current Daily Bread building at 815 E. Fee Ave. in Melbourne, improved service and hygiene areas, Mr. Farrell said.
"What this new building is going to do for us is become our service and outreach building," he said. "That means we are going to have a larger waiting area, three showers, a larger hygiene area and partners' offices, where all of the people who come here to help out actually have an office."
Once the new facility opens, Daily Bread plans to renovate its current building.
"We are going to renovate (the current) building into a dining room and a kitchen, and we will be able to get everyone inside," Mr. Farrell said. "Right now, we feed most of our people in a patio area, which is open to the air. In the summer, it's hot. In the winter, it's cold. There are always flies."
The new facility will also offer a classroom for literacy courses.
"Our first class in the fall will be on literacy because we discovered that 35 people or so of ours cannot read or write," Mr. Farrell said.
Mr. Farell said in 2009 and 2010, the numbers of clients the soup kitchen saw decreased from 2008, the year the economy crashed. However, numbers have slowly risen within the past year.
"I see people with college degrees come through the food line," said Dawn Haynes, a volunteer at Daily Bread. "There are so many people in need with the way the economy is."
Despite the economic hardships, Mr. Farrell said more than 500 people volunteer each month at Daily Bread.
"I've come here for about 18 years," said Mikey Morton, a volunteer. "The most important thing is helping the homeless better."
Not wanting to limit themselves with just helping distribute food, Daily Bread client Steve Daily said the volunteers help with other daily needs.
"These people are some of the nicest people," he said. "They have even gone out of their ways to get heart medicine for me and not ask for anything in return."