St. Anthony’s Soup Kitchen in Skowhegan creatively continues to serve the community

SKOWHEGAN — The cars continue to line up and roll through, while others walk up wearing masks.

The images of this weekly labor of love look different than they did just eight months ago, but it’s Thursday night, which means a free dinner is available to all who need one thanks to the volunteers at St. Anthony’s Soup Kitchen in Skowhegan.

“It’s going well. Our numbers increase every week,” said Aldea LeBlanc, coordinator of the kitchen.

St. Anthony’s Soup Kitchen, located in the parish hall of Notre Dame de Lourdes Church on Water Street, offered a free, sit-down, hot meal for anyone in need every Thursday night prior to the start of the pandemic in March. The ministry is entirely volunteer run.

“The meals were suspended until early June when the soup kitchen resumed again,” said Nora Natale, office manager at Christ the King Parish, of which the soup kitchen is a part. “Most of the crew was more than ready to see our guests again.”

“The need is so great here,” said Fr. James Nadeau, pastor of Christ the King Parish.

The diners are currently not allowed in the parish hall due to the pandemic, but nobody involved was willing to give up this important ministry that has helped thousands of community members through the years.

Now, volunteers wear masks and practice social distancing, the meals are served in a drive-thru format in the parking lot of the church and other recipients participate through take-out service.

While the delivery methods have changed, what has not is the appeal of the meals, which have included pork chops, barbecue chicken, and many other delectable choices.

“We also provide a vegetable and fruit of some kind, as well as donated desserts and bread,” said Aldea. “The meals are served from 4:30 to

Marian House drops ‘soup kitchen’ to reflect restaurant-style dining | Homeless

Colorado Springs’ oldest soup kitchen has been feeding anyone in need of a meal for 50 years, and now, the Marian House is dropping the “soup” and the “kitchen.”

The phrase conjures up a downtrodden image of broth with floating bits of meat or vegetables, said Rochelle Schlortt, spokeswoman for Catholic Charities of Central Colorado, which operates the Marian House in downtown Colorado Springs.

But the Marian House has been and continues to provide much more than that, she said.

The daily lunchtime meal, now under COVID-19 restrictions served from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in eight seatings, provides hot food that includes a main dish, side dish, salad, bread, dessert and drink.

“For many, this is their only meal of the day,” Schlortt said. “It’s high-calorie, nutritious and well-balanced.”

Rearranging seating from picnic-style tables and benches to round tables and chairs, and providing “generous portions” of pre-plated meals instead of a cafeteria-type of serving line, has turned the “soup kitchen” into a dining hall  that’s more like a restaurant, Schlortt said.

The changes add dignity and give guests a feeling of dining instead of receiving an institutional service, she said.

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COVID-19 also added the need for a meal card with the guests’ names and contact, in case tracing is needed in the event of virus infections, said Lorri Orwig, senior vice president of operations.

However, “we’re not going to turn anyone away,” she said.

The changes come as Springs Rescue Mission, another campus about a mile away that also offers homeless services, has expanded and on Thursday began serving breakfast, lunch and dinner meals to a clientele that is primarily the chronically homeless population.

The Marian House now is shifting to focus on families, seniors, people with disabilities

The Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, “A lot of angst and fear.” It forced thousands of businesses and non-profits alike all across Connecticut to temporarily shut down. Something that was not put on hold was food insecurity.

“A lot of uncertainty,” said Steve Werlin, Executive Director of The Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen. “Fairly early on in the spring, we actually saw our numbers rise very dramatically.”

The Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen in New Haven and Executive Director Steve Werlin, recognized that the need to help was more important than ever.

“Our mission is to work with the people who are most in need in New Haven so we never really considered shutting down altogether. Life is difficult for them. Life was difficult before covid and life is even more difficult during covid.”

DESK jumped into action and appropriately adjusted the way they serve the city. Rain or shine, tents and tables full of food were set up on site.

“We painted socially distanced footprints.” Said Steve Werlin, Executive Director of The Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen

Volunteers serve as many as 150 people every night.

“We had a moral obligation to continue to stay open.” Said Steve Werlin, Executive Director of The Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen

It’s an organization full of staff and volunteers. Warriors who, amid a pandemic, chose to show up and serve.

“Everyone here is very committed to the mission they understand why what they’re doing is important they understand the need to provide this service to those in need in the community,” said Steve.

On top of their nightly dinners, DESK also has a grocery delivery service and weekly food pantry. Their concern however, is how they will be able to continue to serve outside in the cold.

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