Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach hosted the 13th annual Feeding the Soul of the City fundraiser, grossing about $140,000 March 22 at the Cornhusker Marriott.
The money raised will support the day-to-day hunger relief and homeless prevention services of the community kitchen and outreach center.
This year’s individual Compassion in Action award was presented to Greg Ernst. The group award was given jointly to the Food Bank of Lincoln and the Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services' Children and Family Services Division.
Ernst is Matt Talbot’s immediate past board president and is serving his seventh year on the board. He is a longtime donor and led Matt Talbot’s Bold Hope building expansion campaign in 2017. He is also an active member of the Executive, Budget and Finance, and Fundraising committees, showing great commitment and generosity of time to Matt Talbot.
“Most of all, he is a number one encourager with a heart for the homeless!” said Susanne Blue, Matt Talbot's executive director.
“Greg’s passion for Matt Talbot’s mission can be felt by all those who come in contact with him,” Blue added. “He embodies humility, compassion and a fun-loving spirit, and for this we honor him with the 2018 Compassion in Action award.”
The Food Bank and DHHS go to Matt Talbot and work together in the dining room to help hundreds of individuals each year receive SNAP benefits (food stamps) and other vital economic support services, Blue explained. The partnership between these two agencies creates effective and efficient outreach to better serve Matt Talbot’s guests.
“With limited resources, it is critical that human services agencies from the public and private sectors work together to find ways to meet the needs of the underserved in our community,” Blue said. “Honoring our partners with Compassion in Action Awards is one of my favorite things to do. The only way to truly meet the needs of the homeless is to work together to find solutions.”
Guests enjoyed a social hour with live music, a dinner and a special video celebrating Matt Talbot's 25th anniversary in addition to the award presentations. Members of the Chase Dance Studio performed during a presentation of how the hungry and homeless are helped by MTKO's services. The event also included live and silent auctions.