A Maplewood church set to open a soup kitchen for the neighborhood is running into financial struggles after a running start with seed money from a former member. It’s now due to open in April.
The Pentecostal Church of God Pastor Philip Centers, and his wife Mary, are transforming the church’s former fellowship hall, at 2150 Yale Avenue, into “The Branch Kitchen” all through with donations. Seed money paid for an architect and some of the construction. They set up a Go Fund Me page for additional construction expenses and hiring a director to run the non-profit.
Mary Centers said Thursday, by email, that the Branch Go Fund Me campaign has not been going to well for some reason.
“We have been blessed by a private donor and hoping we can obtain others as well,” she said. “The start up cost of renovation and getting a director has been a challenge.”
She said she recently discovered that if you type in “The Branch” on the Go Fund Me site, it doesn’t come up. She said she’s not sure if the problem is technical or there just aren’t enough shares to promote it.
She said they have hired a director, Deborah Trudell, who will start on March 21, which she hopes will help with fund raising, grant writing and getting the word out.
“We still believe in the mission and trusting it will all fall in place and fund raising will pick up,” Centers said. She said there is a possibility that other PCG churches will support them as a “home missions project”.
With the delays, the target date to finish construction is the end of April. “Praying for no more delays,” she said.