The Place of Peace in Stevens Point provides free community dinners every Thursday night. But now they're in fear of shutting down, as the building they serve meals in is scheduled to be demolished October 31st, 2012.
The Place of Peace has been dishing up free meals every Thursday night for 15 years, reaching out to people in the community from all walks of life.
Chairman of the Board of Directors for The Place of Peace and Evergreen Community Initiatives, Pastor Al Kinnunen, put it this way, "We feed people and we want to encourage community and love in the City of Stevens Point with food."
Beth Plante was homeless until May of this year. She told NewsChannel 7 that when she had no where else to turn The Place of Peace was there, offering a warm meal and, most importantly, friendship. That's why she is praying for a miracle so that people like her don't have to go without.
"If it wasn't for Pastor Al and their church helping us, we'd not be eating right because people on food stamps don't have enough money," Plante said.
Kinnunen says that due to the recession they are seeing a lot more people in need.
"The amount of need here sometimes feels like it can swallow you," he said.
Beth's friend, Lucille Zeisman, also regularly attends The Place of Peace community dinner. In her opinion, the best part is not the food, but the feeling of community.
"I have talked to a lot of people who come from different walks of life, some worse than me some better than me, but it's just a nice place to go once a week to gather," Zeisman said.
The building The Place of Peace is currently in is being torn down because of severe structural damage. A bad roof has resulted in crumbling dry wall and a mess of electrical problems that would cost the organization $35,000 to fix. Money they just don't have.
"It's hard to feed people with the walls falling down around you," Joel Besmer, Co-Chair of the Board of Directors for The Place of Peace and Evergreen Community Initiatives said.
In addition to providing a warm meal to the community once a week, The Place of Peace also has a food pantry. Every adult who comes to the community dinner receives a free bag of groceries. A service one man told us helps him feed his three small kids.
If you are interested in helping The Place of Peace, check out their website at evergreenci.org.