LINCOLN (SNR) - Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach (MTKO) hosted its annual “Feeding the Soul of the City” dinner and fundraising event March 23 at Nebraska Innovation Campus.
Through the generosity of 48 corporate and individual sponsors, the 350 guests who attended, and the many who gave donations prior to the event, Matt Talbot raised a gross amount of more than $135,000.
“Compassion in Action” awards were presented to Dr. Ram Bishu, Dennis Hoffman and CenterPointe.
Ram served on the Matt Talbot board for nine years, serving as the chair of the fundraising committee for most of those years. In addition, he leads several different hunger relief serving teams from the India Association of Nebraska-Lincoln. He was honored for the compassion he displays toward MTKO guests.
Dennis Hoffman helped Matt Talbot with the massive task of applying to Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the First HOPE project. He is considered a local expert on HUD issues and is always willing to help improve homeless services.
CenterPointe is a long-time partner of Matt Talbot, helping clients access disability services, through Street Outreach, the Lincoln Homeless Coalition, Project Homeless Connect and a host of other collaborations.
“We are so thankful for the support of everyone who helped make this event such a success,” said Susanne Blue, executive director. “It was a joy to come together and celebrate our compassionate community. The money raised at this year’s event will support our hunger relief and homeless prevention services 365 days a year as well as our work to end homelessness in our community.”
In the past year Matt Talbot has initiated the Landlord Liaison Project which makes renting to the homeless a win-win for both tenant and landlord, and the First HOPE Project which uses a nationally proven model to house the chronically homeless and surround them with needed support.
To accommodate the additional staff needed for these programs, Matt Talbot is planning a facility expansion to add eight offices, records storage space, and a small meeting room. Additional parking and a garage for the outreach van are also included in the plans.
“We are excited about our new programs and efforts in defeating homelessness,” Blue said. “Although this building expansion project is brick and mortar, what we are really building is our capacity to save and transform lives.”
The fundraising goal for the building expansion is $750,000. An anonymous donor pledged a challenge gift where every dollar donated will be matched up to $250,000. Donations may be made at mtko.org.
Serving lunch and dinner seven days a week, Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach is a hunger relief and outreach center for those in need. Annually MTKO provides more than 100,000 nutritious meals to the hungry in Lincoln and more than 25,000 homeless prevention services such as housing, drug and alcohol evaluations, life skills classes, nutrition counseling, and help with obtaining identification documents.