**Editor’s Note: The letter to the editor was submitted by Holly Anderle, pastor at First Baptist.

Last year we chose to partner with the Hospitality Center of Racine to bring the Monday Night Hot Meal Program back to our downtown roots.

This partnership has allowed the Hot Meal mission to reach many more people and has opened the door for our members to get even more closely involved with those in need. Recently, however, 2-3 downtown business owners have complained about the Hospitality Center being downtown, believing that the Center attracts homeless and poor people who are “having a negative impact on the surrounding neighborhood.”

These 2-3 complaints caused the City of Racine to contact the Hospitality Center about supposed violations of the current Conditional Use Permit. Most of those violations either were never a problem, an exaggeration of a one-time occurrence, or have been corrected long ago.

The Hospitality Center has met with city officials following these complaints and submitted an application to amend the Conditional Use Permit. The original permit allowed snacks to be served three days each week. Since that time, because of a growing need, they have become Racine’s Largest Meal Program serving over 1000 meals each week – noon meals four days each week, the weekly Monday Night Meal Program, and on the last Thursday of each month.

In a city with the state’s largest unemployment rate, we have a lot of hungry people. We have met a need of feeding the hungry, responding to what we believe by God we are called to do.

In a city with the state’s highest unemployment rate, we have a LOT of hungry people. We have fed them for over 25 years, responding to what we believe God has called us to do. And we want to continue to feed the hungry. The Conditional Use Permit HAS to be approved if our sisters and brothers are to be fed. Denying our ability to serve a hot meal to the poor at the Hospitality Center sets a frightening precedent that could affect ALL of the hot meals/community meals in the city of Racine.

In order for the Planning and Development Commission to understand how important the Hospitality Center and the Monday Night Hot Meal Program is to the community they must hear from all of us.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

  • Call and write the members of the City of Racine Planning and Development Commission and tell them how important it is for us to feed and care for the hungry in Racine. Tell them to approve the new Conditional Use permit. (If you know any of the members personally, speak to them about the importance of the programs!)
  • Come to the Planning and Development Commission hearing on JULY 29 at 4:15 PM at the Racine City Hall.
  • Join us for our weekly prayer vigil every Monday at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church sanctuary (corner of 7th and Main Sts); individual prayer and reflection from 4:00 to 6:30 PM, and clergy led group prayer at 6:30.
  • Pray throughout each day as you feel led!!

THANK YOU for your support!

Rev. Holly Anderle
Coordinator of the Monday Night Hot Meal Program

PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION MEMBERS CONTACT:

John Dickert – Mayor (262) 636-9111

Rev. Melvin Hargrove zoeministries@sbcglobal.net; 262-681-1691

Molly Hall mollyjjhall@sbc.global.net 115 Illinois St.; 262-635-0520

Tony Veranth tonyracine1@gmail.com; 262-637-0115

Tom Durkin durkin@beckerfrench.com; 262-633-7530

Dennis Wiser Dennis.Wiser@cityofracine.org; 262-554-6918

Vincent Esqueda esqueda65@yahoo.com; 262-344-1965

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