'BBQ 4 Bricks' coming downtown

Chad Frey
The Kansan

This Saturday downtown will smell like barbecue, thanks to a fund-raiser at New Jerusalem Mission. 

Penny Dugan has been breathing new life into the old Axtell Hospital on Broadway. Her organization, New Jerusalem Mission, will be hosting a fundraiser this weekend.

This will be the first fund-raiser for the organization in more than a year.

"We have been blessed, honestly, we have been so blessed," said Penny Dugan, founder of the organization. 

The organization will be hosting "BBQ 4 Bricks" from noon to 7 p.m. June 12, in the city parking lot at the intersection of Oak and Sixth Street. The mission is located on the lot, with an address of 209 E. Broadway. 

The organization will serve up a barbecue rib or chicken dinner, each meal will come with a pair of sides, bread and a drin for $20. Tickets will be available at the door. 

There will be cotton candy, cornhole games and entertianment throughout the event. Also on taop for the day are tours of the building — a building constructed as Axtell Hospital that the mission moved into in about 2001. 

Despite a tripling of demand of food boxes going out the door, thanks in part to Pandemic COVID-19, donations to the food pantry maintained by New Jerusalem have kept up. Food programs, including the preparation of hot meals, have been able to continue despite not having fund-raisers during the past year. 

"Our meals did not change very much," Dugan said. "We felt early on, we are to feed his sheep. That meant to carry on with our feeding programs. We never stopped. Nothing ever changed for us. People still came in and got clothes. The only thing we did, we did not feed people inside because we did not have social distancing."

The organization received COVID funding that helped bolster those efforts. 

However, the building fund and improvements have not moved forward. A project to put heating and air in the office area has been on the list for about five years, as are renovations to the rest of the ground floor. 

"We have not been pushing our building program, and it is time to git 'r done," Dugan said. 

That includes the creation of a 24-hour worship center, and moving men back into a transitional/emergency housing wing on the ground floor. 

Work on the offices should begin shortly, with targeted completion this month. 

The barbecue fundraiser will target building funds. 

"It just depends what we get," Dugan said. "We have had one room adopted upstairs. The funds tend to go for the general big stuff, like HVAC. ... It will definitely go to the building."