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Group hit with hefty fee after helping people without homes: 'I believe that it's important to take care of everybody'

"I would hope that someone would take care of me if I was in the same situation."

"I would hope that someone would take care of me if I was in the same situation."

Photo Credit: iStock

In the heart of Kalispell, Montana, where the chilling winters are a particularly challenging season for the homeless population, a beacon of hope emerges every Sunday. Winter's Kitchen, a dedicated group of volunteers, gathers at Depot Park with one mission: to provide nourishment and warmth to those in need during the harsh winter months.

Winter is indeed a difficult time for many, but for those without stable shelter or access to basic necessities, the challenges are amplified. Freezing temperatures not only pose physical risks but also exacerbate the already precarious situation of homelessness. 

Recognizing this, the volunteers of Winter's Kitchen come together, driven by compassion and a sense of communal responsibility, to offer sustenance and support to those struggling in the Flathead Valley.

"I believe that it's important to take care of everybody, regardless of their situation. I would hope that someone would take care of me if I was in the same situation," expressed Dana Evert, a dedicated volunteer for Winter's Kitchen, according to KPAX News. 

However, despite their altruistic endeavors, the path for Winter's Kitchen has not been without obstacles. The Sunday gatherings at Depot Park have encountered permitting issues, adding a layer of complexity to their efforts. Winter's Kitchen needed a permit, akin to any other group organizing an event in the area. 

This requirement imposes an additional financial burden, with the cost amounting to $2,700 — doubling the cost of feeding each person.

Despite the financial strain, obtaining the permit also brings a silver lining. It grants those experiencing homelessness six hours of sanctuary at Depot Park every Sunday, offering a safe space for those in need.

Winter's Kitchen operates on the spirit of community, with volunteers selflessly shouldering the costs and responsibilities associated with the initiative. From purchasing groceries out of their own pockets to dedicating their time on Sundays to distribute meals, every aspect of Winter's Kitchen is driven by the collective effort of compassionate individuals.

"If there's a will there's a way it's just time that we all just look out for each other and take care of each other," said Rebecca Couture, the executive director of Winter's Kitchen.

In response to the financial challenges posed by the permitting requirements, Winter's Kitchen has launched a fundraising campaign through GoFundMe. The initiative aims to alleviate the financial burden and ensure the continuity of their vital services to the homeless population in Kalispell.

"We're just a community of people that pull together and feed on Sunday," Couture further shared. "So everybody kind of splits the cost. So it's really important that we just come together, and we bridge that gap."

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