Complaints threaten to shut down Abbeville Co soup kitchen - FOX Carolina 21

Complaints threaten to shut down Abbeville Co soup kitchen

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DUE WEST, SC (FOX Carolina) -

The future of an Abbeville County soup kitchen is under attack.

The Due West man who feeds those in need has made national news for his charitable work, but some neighbors have had enough.

Lately, the owners have heard pushback from neighbors in the form of complaints to county administrators and building inspectors.

Now, they need to figure out how to renovate before the county gives them the full OK to continue.

Jerry Hall said he could have made at least a 1,000 meals for the community with the money they've already spent for renovations, but he will do whatever it takes to keep his community fed.

Hall said he won't shut down his kitchen as he makes repairs and adjustments. He just had to alter his usual plan, using a former Abbeville County Schools portable classroom as a dining hall. Hall bought the building for a dollar from the school system and started using it in February, but soon heard from the county building inspector.

By June, Hall was handed a list of renovations needed. And since then a structural engineer and an architect have given their time to create design plans.

Hall knows that the portable building needs to be able to withstand 110 mph winds, and the floors need to be able to carry a certain weight load too.

He's already started with a handicap-accessible ramp and he has personal experience with HVAC and electric work.

County building officer Mark Timmerman said that Hall needs to bring the building built in 1988 up to 2014 standards. Hall also needs to make sure it meets all the codes for assembly occupancy of a dining room rather than a classroom.

While no one would say who made the complaints, Hall said that they came from neighbors who may not like the demographics of guests driving in for Tuesday suppers.

"If they think they're hurting me, they're not. They are hurting the community and hurting the people that are hurting. They're just making it that much worse on them," said Hall.

Hall said he's seen about 150 people each week and that he won't stop feeding them.

"'Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you.' If I was hungry, I would sure be hoping somebody would wanna feed me," Hall said.

County councilman Charlie Stone said the council is on board with Uncle Jerry's Kitchen as long as the building is brought up to code. They even honored him with a resolution for his service at a council meeting a few months ago.

As Hall continues to cook he hopes the community can help with funds and construction so that he can serve indoors again soon.

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