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Iconic restaurant to serve new purpose

Posted: Wednesday, Apr 3rd, 2013

The former Klondike bar and restaurant west of Rochelle on IL Route 38 is being transformed into a ‘soup kitchen’ by a local woman. (Photo by Katie Peterson)

Carolyn Brown has a heart to serve and is looking to fill a growing need in the community with her purchase of an old empty restaurant west of Rochelle.

Brown purchased the old Klondike building, located at 7034 S. Klondike Road, off IL Route 38, with plans to open a soup kitchen that will serve Rochelle and Ashton. She chose the location since it was between both towns and would allow the soup kitchen to serve more individuals in need of a hot meal.

“A soup kitchen is a place for people who can’t afford to eat to come and eat with no strings attached,” Brown said.

Brown expects the soup kitchen to open within a year and plans to run the building on volunteers and donations.

She has been working on opening a soup kitchen for three years as Brown has spent many hours researching, talking to community members, saving money and looking for an ideal location. Since Brown purchased the location in February, construction has begun to transform the old restaurant to fit her needs.

Brown said her initial offer on the building was rejected, but seven months later they called her back and accepted the offer.

“I was inspired to open a soup kitchen in Rochelle as the need is greater than what a lot of people realize,” Brown said.

The soup kitchen will initially be open for one meal a few days per week to serve anyone in need or who wants to eat.

“Seniors have limitations on the ability to cook and prepare meals and will be able to come eat,” stated Brown.

While the building will be considered a “soup kitchen” for legal purposes, Brown will allow anyone who wants to eat to fill the tables. Instead of getting a bill at the end of the meal, diners can make a donation.

Brown has had many individuals volunteer to help but will be looking for more closer to opening day and as the restaurant is updated.

The building has sat vacant for several years.

“I have faith people will help out when they realize what is going on in there,” explained Brown.

High school students who serve at the soup kitchen will be eligible for Silver Cord hours.

Brown said her biggest hurdle in opening the soup kitchen will be getting a non-profit exemption, allowing all donations to be tax deductible, as she currently does not have one.

Anyone who is looking to donate time or money for the soup kitchen can contact Brown at 815-453-2597 or e-mail carolyne7@frontier.com.

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