For the fourth year, Feed'em Soup organizers will host a spaghetti dinner to raise funds for their mission to feed DeKalb. This year, the fundraiser will be a unique addition to their calendar of fundraisers and the former spaghetti dinner will evolve into an entire pasta bar featuring a variety of pasta shapes including spaghetti, rotini and others, as well as a variety of delicious sauces like marinara, carbonara, and Alfredo sauce made fresh in the Feed'em Soup kitchen.
The unlimited pasta bar will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday April 18, at 122 S. First St., DeKalb.
"We wanted to offer a wider variety of items to appeal to a larger audience," said executive director Derek Gibbs. "It will be a better event for our donors and ultimately raise more funds for us to continue our mission."
Feed'em Soup Community Project is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit community kitchen providing free meals to the public from 5 to 7 p.m. each Wednesday and 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every Thursday and Friday. The harsh winter weather has significantly hurt the groups fundraising efforts and the increase in utility costs have put them behind on critical bills needed to keep the doors open and the lights on.
"We've had to cut a significant portion of our budget" Gibbs said. "Our After Dark program has struggled hardest."
The late night restaurant grossed approximately $20,000 to support the group's mission in 2013 -- its largest fundraiser by far; for the first quarter of 2014 sales are down 60 percent. "After Dark" a late night fundraiser began in November of 2012 as a way of generating regular income for the group to use to fund its mission. One hundred percent of funds raised through After Dark benefit the project. Despite plans to revamp the After Dark fundraiser to better serve customers and generate more income for the group to fund its mission, the going won't be easy.
Cuts to Feed'em Soup's budget were made in much needed building improvements, kitchen upgrades, staffing and wages, and food cost. The group needs less than $120,000 annually to operate and estimates a minimum of 17,500 "donate-what-you-can" style meals served this year.
"We're having to do at least one major fundraiser each month to keep from falling too far behind," Gibbs said. The group receives no state or government funding and is supported completely through independent means such as the group's internal fundraisers, corporate grants, business sponsorships and most of all, donations from local citizens.
The group is hoping that the Unlimited Pasta Bar fundraiser will have a record turnout and generate about $4,000 in funds. Tickets are available online at FeedEmSoup.org for $10, or at the door for $12.
Those wishing to make a tax deductible donation to assist the group in its mission may do so online at FeedEmSoup.org or by mailing checks made out to Feed'em Soup to 122 S. First St., DeKalb IL 60115.