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Residents respond against Richfield soup kitchen

Members of the Richfield community, especially those in proximity to Richfield United Methodist Church, continue to voice their dissent with the possibility of a Community Table in their neighborhood.

Richfield UMC was denied a permit by the town to renovate its kitchen in order to host a Community Table, an outreach of Stanly Community Christian Ministry.

Scottie Heglar, a local resident who expressed his displeasure in the most recent meeting of the Richfield Town Council, noted the Community Table in Albemarle is located more in a business area instead of residential.

“To me, the taxpayer citizens living in the area should have the say-so,” he said. “We are the ones paying taxes…we’re the ones that’s going to be left with it, (with) whatever they create. They get to go home. They’re outside the area.”

Heglar said soup kitchens “attract the unwanted into the area, and once they get in, they don’t leave. Nobody that is for this thing is from this neighborhood.”

He added the soup kitchen could be a “stepping stone” to a shelter, both of which could create the possibility of “affecting the value of your home.”

Heglar also said he and others don’t want the soup kitchen in the neighborhood, adding he hated that he “lost it” during the recent town council meeting.

He further said if outgoing town council member Jim Misenheimer was on the board of directors for Crossroads then he should not have been involved with trying to get the permit passed due to a conflict of interest.

David Isenhour, who lives on North Main Street in Richfield, said he has lived at that address since getting married in 1982.

Isenhour said he feels like the intentions of the people involved have been good for the most part as the church, but since the church does not have a lot of members they “were looking for something that they could do to help the community.”

However, Isenhour asserted he and others attending a meeting in mid to late 2019 of a group called Friendly Neighbors, which met monthly at the Richfield Fire Department before the pandemic, heard from an individual in support of a homeless shelter.

Isenhour said he did not know if this person was associated with the church, CrossRoads Connections, SCCM or another organization involved with bringing the Community Table to Richfield. Heglar also mentioned a “luncheon at the fire department” where a soup kitchen and homeless shelter were mentioned.

Jerry Measimer, who lives diagonally across from the church on Main Street, said he began researching CrossRoads Connections a few months ago, noting the group was going to serve parts of southern Rowan and Cabarrus counties along with Stanly.

“They’re either going to have to bus them in or they are going to walk down here and they’re going to stay in the woods,” Measimer said.

A few years ago, Measimer said a homeless person moved into the woods behind the local water department building. When officials at a nearby church would not have the person moved, Measimer got her a place at a local motel up the road.

“These are the kinds of things that happen around here,” he said.

Measimer said the people in favor of the Community Table do not live in their neighborhood, adding he and his neighbors are the community and “we don’t want it.”

He said he believes the church “was falling apart because there’s not enough people that go there.”

“I would not want a soup kitchen next to my property…I don’t think Richfield needs a soup kitchen here. I don’t understand why they think we need one here. There’s no one here,” Measimer said.

His 85-year-old mother lives next door to him, he said. He believes she would not go to the Community Table if it was that close.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio was the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press from 1999-2001 and has currently served in the same capacity since 2008. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also been honored twice by the North Carolina Press Association.

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