Soup Kitchen operator in Leland facing eviction after landlord sells building with three years remaining on lease
LELAND, N.C. (WECT) - When Kory Sanderlin first started M&K Kitchen back in December of 2020, he did not set out to run a soup kitchen, feeding the hungry, but after a series of events that’s exactly what his restaurant became.
After closing down the restaurant due to needed repairs, Sanderlin formed Bare Necessities, a non-profit organization. Once he was able to reopen, the restaurant became a pay-what-you-can restaurant, where the hungry could come in and enjoy a hot meal five days a week.
“As far as business goes, I’d rather be in the business of community aid than profitable money,” he said.
Now, the soup kitchen and food pantry operator, in the rapidly growing Leland area, is facing eviction; however, Sanderlin is not giving up without a fight.
He has been renting the space at 403 Village Road in Leland for a little less than two years, and he signed a five-year lease. Now, after multiple people have fallen through the floor of the restaurant, events that cost him time and money, Sanderlin’s landlords changed the locks on his business and sold the building.
According to Sanderlin, the reason the landlords say he is being evicted is due to not paying rent for December, but he says he did try and pay.
“On December 6, we attempted to pay that rent and the landlord, Chris Baker, informed me that we had plenty of time to discuss our rent after our floors were completed, then on the 13th, I had town hall tell me the floors still weren’t completed, and then on the 14th I was sent that injunction statement, and then on the 15th they came out and changed the locks on us,” he said.
He’s heading to court on Dec. 29, to ask a judge to take a closer look at the lease he signed, and hopefully to give him a chance to stay in the location so he can continue to provide help to those in need.
As far as how the business works, it’s not just a soup kitchen, it is still a restaurant where everyone who wants a meal can come and eat, regardless of their ability to pay.
“You call your order in and come pick it up when you get here. No-one prices your meal, they just expect you to do what’s right. If you were willing to pay $20 for lunch today and you leave $20 in our donations, it’s happy. If you couldn’t afford that and you take a meal, I’m even happier,” he said.
WECT reached out to the attorney who told reporters the eviction would most likely be dismissed since ownership of the property has already been transferred.
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