Help Please

Hello Everyone,

I have a question for anyone who is willing to help us out in this situation.
I am a part of a small urban Church Ministry who is experiencing some terribly difficult financial times,
(Right-Who Isn’t) we are struggling to make the mortgage and are behind as it is, However, we are’nt begging for money or anything we as the congregation give as we are able, since some of the families are without employment.

Anywho. one of our members came up with a plan to begin a Take & Bake Pizza Biz that will generate revenue to help support the church. We got the ingredients and the packaging & everything, we built the pies & gave 'em away so thta people could taste them.

the pies were a hit. however we got hit - some “Anonymous” person reported us to the health dept.

I am not the exact person over this endeavor, but I am part of this Church Family. and all we are trying to do is pay our bills - Honestly -

Can someone pleeease let us know what permits, licenses, and all we need to know to run this biz from our church kitchen?

Remember, this is just fresh made ready to cook pizza’s like, take n bake.

We really appreciate any help given.

Thanks a Million

In business the first order of business is to make sure you are opperating within the law. Check with your health department as to what they require of you. You will need to get them to do an inspection of the facility and they may require food saftey courses be taken. They will be the ones to issue a permit that allows your food to be served (sold).

You need to check with your cities various departments (planning or development) to see if you can in-fact run a business from the church (there may be zoning by-laws that prevent this) and if you can run the business they will know what you need as far as permits.

In my experience the local health department can be a good help if you go to them and ask the right questions at the right time. To often they get involved because people have done things the right way and by going to them first they feel part of the process and hopefully will get their end result (a business which complies with the law).

They will almost certainly be able to provide contacts and advice regarding the other issues you will need to resolve.

Good luck.

I think that your zoning and health dept will be the least of your concerns.

I suggest you speak with your attorney and tax accountant. This sounds like a “for profit” enterprise and may very well jeprodize your tax exempt status and your qualification as a charitable organization. If you were in my town, that is how I would feel about it. I would see you as competition with no labot cost.

good point - I wonder how ‘for profit’ and ‘fund raising’ are defined in this contaxt? Depending on how often this was happening I’d see this as little different than a bake sale or other food related fund raiser? Could be a very fine line between business and fund raising.

were your pies prepared in the Church’s kitchen? chances are if they were, you kitchen may meet basic requirements…I ran several Church operations years ago…

I wouldn’t worry too much about it, but you seek to continue, check into your local laws…

for profit or not, this is also an outreach ministry, so I wouldn’t worry about tax status…heck, start a coffee shop in the basement!

if your kitchen isn’t up to code, your members might be able to upgrade it…do you do meal service on Wednesday’s? you may only need a hand sink & a 3-compartment sink to meet basic needs…

You could then buy a par-backed crust & continue with your outreach…

Peace & Semper Fi!