Serving at the Pittsburg Lord’s Diner, from left, are Darla Spears, Judy Tilley and Kelsey Drenick. (Photos courtesy Brett Dalton)

The idea was simple. Pittsburg businessman Bill Wachter learned a year ago that the cost of feeding guests for an evening at The Lord’s Diner in Pittsburg is about $365, or a $1 a day for a year.
So, would it be possible to find 365 donors who would sponsor one night of the 365 days of the year?
The idea was planted about a year ago and grew into the Give 365 campaign that reached its goal last month of raising over $133,000 for the community diner.
Joe Dellasega, the chairperson of the Diner Advisory Council, said it was a “simple, organic idea.”
“The really cool thing about what Bill did was that he acted on it. You know how we have those ‘God moments’ or those little Holy Spirit inspirations in our heads? The difference in Bill is that he actually acted on his Holy Spirit moment.”
Dellasega, a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Pittsburg, said Wachter’s idea helped 234 donors, 23 businesses, and 12 non-profits join hands to make sure no one in the community goes to bed with an empty stomach.
Pittsburg’s Noon Rotary Clubs kicked off the campaign by sponsoring 25 nights. Dellasega, who is also a Rotarian, said the club was already heavily involved in several community service projects, and was looking for a flagship cause.
“We approached the board and then the entire club and they were in favor of adopting the Diner’s cause,” he said. “We had been looking for something significant we could do to really be a game changer in our community.”
The Rotary clubs and many churches and other organizations in the Pittsburg community helped get the word out for the campaign, cooperation that was critical in reaching the goal.
As a result, another goal has been set.
“We envision this being an annual process now,” Dellasega said. “It’s funny because people are like, oh, well, you met your goal, but it’s not like a capital campaign where it’s over. The need to fund the mission is going to go on and on.”
The community’s work to reach the goal has been unifying, he said.
“There are a lot of great people working in the nonprofit sector that are working really hard on all of their different areas. Whether it’s health, addiction rehab, education or child care. A lot of great people.
“This is one cause that’s universal to all. And we support all those causes. I think it’s the same dynamic that started in Wichita, that people all relate to what it would be like to be hungry.”
Dellasega said they are now looking to expand the Give 365 campaign and are seeking commitments that can be renewed annually for the Diner.

Laura Ramsey, left, the Pittsburg Diner’s on-site Director and former Kitchen Manager Christine Parameter.