Before misfortune in the form of a fire befell Soul Food Cafe and Mission a second time, a fundraiser was in the works to support the mission’s new initiative — to build bigger and better at 1717 South Donaghey Ave.

That fundraiser is slated for Saturday at Simon Park in Conway’s downtown.

Organizers have secured the park as a location for a "$1 Fall Festival" from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Rick Harvey, co-director with wife, Traci Harvey, said the festival will offer bounce houses, face painting, a dunking booth, clowns, animal balloons, raffles, hamburgers, hot dogs and live entertainment.

All activities are $1.

Proceeds will go to complete the shell of a building at the group’s permanent home at Donaghey Avenue.

Soul Food Cafe and Mission hopes to expand its services to go beyond its once weekly soup kitchen and food distribution.

Rick Harvey said the new mission building has the capacity to hold a furniture and small appliance showroom, laundromat, soup kitchen, food pantry, clothing room and a second floor for short overnight stays.

"We will use the second floor to offer a wing for women and one for men, along with a couple of family units for short stays," Harvey said.

One to two night stays will be provided for individuals or families who face hardship due to fires or various circumstances.

When the mission is open at Donaghey Avenue, the Harveys plan to be in operation seven days a week rather than one.

At this time, Soul Food Cafe and Mission is temporarily housed at Second Baptist Church at 701 Polk St., just off Harkrider Street in Conway.

The mission offers breakfast on Mondays starting at 9 a.m. Hot meals are served between noon and 1 p.m., and food boxes are distributed at that location until 3 p.m.

Soul Food Cafe and Mission’s previous location at Four Winds Church on Dave Ward Drive was destroyed in a fire in mid-August. 

In 2006, the mission suffered a complete loss when a fire claimed the group’s building in south Conway in 2006.

Both misfortunes have set the mission’s operations back, but the Harveys say that the instances are behind them. 

"We’re in rebuild mode," Harvey said. 

For more information on the Soul Food Cafe and Mission’s Fall Festival, call Rick Harvey at 514-5325, or visit the group’s website at www.soulfoodcafemission.org.

(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by e-mail at courtney.spradlin@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)