Two weeks after representatives of the Belfast Soup Kitchen announced that the facility lacked the money to remain open, representatives say the kitchen has received a flood of donations from individuals and businesses, enough so that the kitchen won’t have to close.

“It just totally blew my mind,” said Alex Allmayer-Beck, chairman of the soup kitchen’s board of directors. He reached his right hand across his body and pretended to pinch his left forearm. “I was just sitting back, like, ‘Is this really happening, or am I dreaming?'”

Not long ago, the situation looked grave. A drop in contributions, which had come primarily from parishioners at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Belfast, meant the soup kitchen had to deplete its reserves to pay operating costs.

The soup kitchen had severed its official ties to the church in order to be eligible for support from a wider range of funding sources, including government agencies and secular organizations. A newly formed board of directors was in the process of applying for nonprofit status. But that would take time, and the soup kitchen directors realized they didn’t have enough money to make it through the interim.

They put out a call for help, conducting interviews with local media in hopes of raising enough money to cover expenses while the soup kitchen reorganized and applied for grants.

According to board Treasurer Jason Lundy, the soup kitchen received enough money in contributions to cover 10 months of basic operating expenses. Other board members tempered that figure, saying it was based on last year’s operating costs and didn’t include contingencies, like having to replace a broken kitchen appliance, or other large, unforeseen expenses.

Still, the amount was much more than they had dreamed they would get.

Board member Nan Borton, who described herself as “a tough nut,” said she burst into tears when she learned of the amount of contributions after a single week.

Allmayer-Beck said the soup kitchen received many donations from individuals in the $10 to $100 range, as well as several larger donations from businesses. Financial supporters included Viking Lumber, United Mid-Coast Charities and St. Francis of Assisi Church.

Belfast Area Chamber of Commerce sent e-mail notices to its member businesses, and Our Town Belfast has offered technical support in the kitchen’s grant writing efforts. St. Bernard’s Church in Rockland donated a truckload of food to the kitchen.

There were others, and Allmayer-Beck said they would be acknowledged. The soup kitchen was in the process of having stationery made that would be used to mail thank you letters, he said.

With disaster averted in the short term, the soup kitchen’s executive committee, consisting of Allmayer-Beck, Borton and Mary Brand, met Sept. 3 to discuss the future of the facility, including how to feed more people, and a possible expansion into other services. All of this would take money.

“We’re covered in the short term,” said Brand. “But now we need to figure out the long term, because funding is always the issue.”