Chicken breast with rice, salad, a roll and a brownie.
Not bad for the first meal at an interim homeless shelter inside the church housing the Lawrence Interdenominational Nutrition Kitchen.
But ask Don Huggins, and he’ll say that’s just the beginning of good news coming out of the LINK site, which is housing displaced residents of The Salvation Army’s overnight shelter.
“People were very cooperative and very grateful,” said Huggins, president of the Lawrence Community Shelter’s board of directors. “Everybody settled in, and it just looks like it’s going to work very well.”
He said the LINK site, which housed 28 people Monday night including one family with a 1-month-old girl, exceeded expectations for its first night of operation.
“We have no reason to believe that it won’t just get better,” he said.
He described the shelter as purely an interim step in housing Lawrence’s homeless population. The temporary site won’t distract the board from moving ahead with finding a new permanent shelter to replace The Salvation Army shelter, which is now closed.
“With today’s economy, we don’t know where it’s going to go and how many more folks we might end up having to take care of,” he said. “We’re just being prepared to do what we can to help those in need.”
Throughout the day, four or five volunteers helped shelter staff by moving sleeping mats and serving food. Overnight, a monitor and a volunteer were staffing the facility.
And for the assistance that the Community Shelter was providing, Huggins said that people were unreserved in showing their gratitude.
“It’s always a good feeling when people acknowledge what you’re doing for them. By and large, everybody is so grateful,” he said. “It makes me feel good.”