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 5 p.m. to anyone who comes.”

Established in 1991, the soup kitchen shut down briefly in 2017 while the parish sought funding and someone to lead it. 

Aldea stepped forward, along with Steve Watrous, and the kitchen began serving meals again in November 2018.

Patrons not only come from Skowhegan but from surrounding communities such as Athens, Bingham and Canaan.

The soup kitchen is funded through several sources, including donors as well as partners like the Good Shepherd Food Bank in Auburn and The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). Additionally, Walmart provides a $50 gift card each month, which is used to buy food or supplies, and Hannaford donates food for the meals, as well as bread for the guests to take home.

“If there is any food left over, it gets donated to a homeless shelter in Skowhegan,” said Aldea.

Like many ministries, St. Anthony’s has been diligently planning for the colder months ahead.

“There are two separate doors to the kitchen. One of our ideas is to have people come one at a time to pick up their food from one door and exit the other door,” said Aldea. “They could tell the volunteers what items they want

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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 and the working poor, many of which are served in its other programs that include assistance with employment, housing, medical care, literacy, language, counseling, budgeting, family matters, legal issues, identification and other needs.

The pandemic has decreased meals from 500 to 600 a day to a maximum of 288 in the main dining room and a few families in a separate family room.

The organization is not sure where the hundreds of other clients went, but Schlortt speculates that families have been staying at home more and getting food from local pantries and school distributions.

“We tend to look at COVID as all the things it’s prevented us from doing, but from our perspective, it allowed us to move forward to making some changes we’ve wanted to do for some time,” Schlortt said.

“It was time to make our dining hall more welcoming, more dignified and have servers for our guests.”

Anyone interested in volunteering at the Marian House can call 866-6559.


Pandemic relief funding helps get homeless Colorado Springs vets off streets

Contact the writer: 719-476-1656.

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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.

For more information head to deskct.org.

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Soup Kitchen fundraiser becomes ‘Empty’ Empty Bowls for 2020 | Western Colorado

To mark the 25th anniversary of Empty Bowls, Grand Valley Catholic Outreach wanted to go bigger.

The annual Soup Kitchen fundraiser with ceramic bowls made by local artists and gourmet soup from area restaurants has become an event many in the valley look forward to each October.

“We brainstormed how we might do it, but when you have over 1,000 people and bowls of soup and social distancing … there was just no way we could do it,” said Beverly Lampley, director of development and communication for Catholic Outreach.

In addition, 2020 and COVID-19 rules haven’t been so kind to area restaurants. The local artists who usually donate bowls haven’t been throwing as much this year. Catholic Outreach didn’t want Empty Bowls to burden them, Lampley said.

This year the fundraiser has become “Empty” Empty Bowls. Tickets are $25, and are a “reminder that people are hungry in our valley even though this year we can’t have an event,” Lampley said.

The Soup Kitchen offers lunch six days a week, free to anyone who is hungry. Each year it serves an average of 67,000 meals, according to catholicoutreach.org.

Earlier this year, the Soup Kitchen’s numbers increased a little, then decreased again, Lampley said. “We anticipate that when it gets cold again, they will increase again.”

Lampley has been pleased with the support “Empty” Empty Bowls has received so far. “It makes you feel good that everyone responds to the need and that’s what just surprised me in a way,” she said.

As for the 25th anniversary celebration for Empty Bowls, that will happen in 2021 instead and area potters are already making bowls, Lampley said.

In the meantime, tickets for “Empty” Empty Bowls are available through Oct. 10 at Catholic Outreach’s main office at 245 S. First St.

To learn about Catholic Outreach and the Soup Kitchen, go to catholicoutreach.org.

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At Patti’s Kitchen in Pinellas Park, a noodle soup for all seasons

A couple of months ago, I started seeing the photos. They’d pop up on my Instagram and Facebook feeds, beckoning with the promise of my Next Great Meal: big bowls of broth bobbing with meatballs, piles of bouncy noodles and bright green leafy vegetables. Where was this place? I wondered. But also: It’s 95 degrees outside. Do I really want soup?

Patti’s Kitchen, which opened quietly in July, sits on the corner of a strip mall on a stretch of Park Boulevard N in Pinellas Park. Curious and unable to satisfy my noodle cravings for a minute longer, I ventured out to the restaurant in August. Driving in a car that had been sitting in my driveway all day long in what felt like 100-degree temps to pick up a steaming bowl of soup was an interesting experience.

It was also completely worth it.

Tiew Ped Toon, made with egg noodles, sliced steamed duck served in duck soup and with Chinese broccoli. Seasoned with cilantro, celery, and garlic, is served at Patti’s Kitchen, Pinellas Park. [ SCOTT KEELER | Times ]

Sithisak “Pooh” Wongasawanuek and his wife, Phonphen “Patti” Kanjanakrairoek, opened their small, casual restaurant as an homage to the street noodles of Bangkok. Kanjanakrairoek, 40, is originally from Thailand’s capital city while Wongasawanuek, 33, is from Chiang Mai, up in the northern highlands of the country. Though the cuisines in both regions are rich and varied, it’s the street food stalls selling spicy bowls of noodle soup that piqued the couple’s interest.

For the past couple of years, the couple ran a small catering operation and tested out recipes, waiting for the perfect opportunity to open their own shop. They settled on the Pinellas Park location, in part, because of the area’s robust Asian population.

Patti’s Kitchen in Pinellas Park has two small dining areas inside the business. The restaurant serves a variety of Thai dishes and drinks. [ SCOTT KEELER | Times ]

The noodle dishes are the highlight, and they deserve every ounce of the spotlight. Despite what might seem like a uniform genre at first glance, each bowl is unique, carrying intricate and complex flavors. It’s a petite menu, and a different rotating specialty is featured each week. In general, the kitchen strays from overly conventional or Americanized takes on the cuisine (although pad Thai is in the mix).

To start, it’s hard to go wrong with the flaky Thai curry puffs paired with a light and refreshing cucumber salad ($6.50). These pack a warming mix of curried ground chicken, potatoes and onion, not unlike an Indian samosa. But instead of getting deep-fried they are wrapped in a flaky, buttery dough that has more in common with puff pastry or French pate chaud.

Thai curry puffs, made with ground chicken breast, potato and onion mixed with curry powder and wrapped in a pastry shell, are served with cucumber salad at Patti’s Kitchen in Pinellas Park. [ SCOTT KEELER | Times ]

The restaurant’s signature noodle soup

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Shepherds braces for second wave, prepares to reopen indoor soup kitchen



a man sitting on a wooden bench: Shepherds of Good Hope exterior dining room.


© Provided by Ottawa Citizen
Shepherds of Good Hope exterior dining room.

The Shepherds of Good Hope will reopen its indoor soup kitchen early in October after six months of serving meals outside.

The move is one of several that the city’s largest homeless shelter is making in preparation for the return of cold weather – and the second wave of COVID-19.

“We’re preparing to bring people back inside, and we’re looking at how we do that safely,” said Deirdre Freiheit, president and chief executive officer of the Shepherds of Good Hope.



a person standing on a sidewalk:  Deirdre Freiheit, the CEO of Shepherd of Good Hope in Ottawa


© Jean Levac
Deirdre Freiheit, the CEO of Shepherd of Good Hope in Ottawa

In March, as COVID-19 spread rapidly in Ottawa, the Shepherds closed its soup kitchen because physical distancing was next to impossible. The Murray Street facility feeds as many as 700 people a day.

A staff parking lot was quickly converted into an open-air soup kitchen with tents and picnic tables. Lines were painted on the ground to direct traffic and keep people two metres apart.

All of the Shepherds other services were similarly remodelled to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

The strategy proved successful. Six Shepherds clients contracted COVID-19 in May and June, but they were quickly isolated and the spread was contained without any fatalities.

The new challenge for the shelter is to bring clients back inside this fall without triggering a major outbreak.

Reopening the soup kitchen does not mean going back to the pre-COVID model, Freiheit said. Only 30 people will be allowed into the soup kitchen at any given time so that they can physically distance. Plexiglass barriers have been added to the serving area and to tables, and clients will be asked to wear masks.

The new limit on guests means that meals will take much longer to serve – and will require more volunteers.

“We’re going to be serving meals 12 hours a day and doing the cleaning in between,” said Freiheit.

Extra cleaning staff has been hired to work in the evenings and overnight. The cleaning staff has essentially been doubled, she said, since the advent of COVID-19.

The Shepherds used to ask clients to leave the shelter in the daytime to make it easier to clean. But during COVID-19, with libraries, malls and drop-in centres often closed, the Shepherds has allowed clients to remain in the shelter for all but one hour a day. In that hour, the dorm rooms are scoured.

“Cleaning is one of the big things we’ve been able to do to mitigate the risks of COVID since the homeless can’t physically distance like you and me,” Freiheit said.

Clients are provided with masks and hand sanitizer, while staff members wear full personal protective equipment.

During the summer months, many homeless people camped outside rather than risk staying in a shelter. Freiheit expects that will change as the calendar moves into October and November, which will increase pressure on all the downtown shelters.

“We just can’t have the shelters become full again.

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WRAL story garners donations, volunteers for Raleigh soup kitchen :: WRAL.com

Leaders of the Shepherds Table soup kitchen in downtown Raleigh are thankful for an overwhelming response to their plea for help. It came after a WRAL story highlighting the ministry’s decline in volunteers and donations largely due to the impact of COVID-19.

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HOLY APOSTLES SOUP KITCHEN Hosts 8th Annual Farm to Tray Event 9/24

HOLY APOSTLES SOUP KITCHEN Hosts 8th Annual Farm to Tray Event 9/24

On September 24, 2020, Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, the largest soup kitchen in New York state, will host the 8th annual Farm to Tray, a virtual celebration of food and community, presented by Whole Foods Market. The event — traditionally held in-person — is a culmination of the soup kitchen’s year-round campaign against hunger and food waste, two issues that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the event will be streamed virtually via YouTube.

Over the past eight years, Farm to Tray has raised vital funds that strengthen Holy Apostles’ ability to improve the lives of New Yorkers through meal outreach and dynamic social service programs. This year, the event will also celebrate the myriad partners and volunteers who have made it possible for the soup kitchen to step up and meet the unprecedented increase in demand as a result of the global pandemic, including those who helped to raise $1MM for Holy Apostles’ fundraising campaign, Operation HopeFULL, earlier this year. Since January, Holy Apostles has served over half a million meals, surpassing its projections for the entirety of 2020 and setting a new record for annual meals served throughout its 38-year history.

At previous Farm to Tray events, well-respected culinary figures have come together from across the city to create sustainably-driven, nutritious menus that mirror the soup kitchen’s vision for nourishing struggling New Yorkers. This year, the event will feature virtual programming from prominent partner chefs and corporate partners, including a mixology demo presented by Whole Foods Market, a performance from the band at Avenues: The World School, and culinary tips from pastry chef Caroline Schiff (Gage & Tollner) and chef Robert Austin Cho (Kimchi Smoke), as well as a cooking demo featuring Chef Russell Jackson of Reverence in collaboration with Verlasso Salmon and Ocean Hill Apple Brandy. The program will also offer a collection of videos that demonstrate how the soup kitchen is dealing with adversity amidst the pandemic via heartwarming volunteer and guest stories. All attendees will also receive a virtual gift bag featuring recipes from the event demos, as well as a student-written cookbook from Avenues: The World School.

“The success of Farm to Tray can be directly attributed to our dedicated volunteers as well as the culinary figures and corporate partners who generously lend their time, talent, and resources to the soup kitchen,” shared the Reverend Dr. Anna S. Pearson, Executive Director of Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen. “New Yorkers stick together during challenging times. We’ve seen our community unite over the past few months with profound dedication to the work that happens at Holy Apostles, and we’re confident that the support from this year’s Farm to Tray event will help us to sustain those who will feel the impacts of this crisis long after the pandemic is over.”

Since 2013, Farm to Tray has raised nearly $2.3 million in cash and in-kind support and introduced over 100 new partnerships to

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Raleigh’s Shepherd’s Table Soup Kitchen desperate for donations :: WRAL.com

— The COVID-19 pandemic has placed new demands on many charitable organizations, like the Shepherd’s Table Soup Kitchen, which has served the hungry in the Raleigh area for 40 years and has never struggled more.

Close to lunchtime, kitchen manager Michael K. Smith begins rolling out packed meals from the kitchen to the sidewalk on Morgan Street in downtown Raleigh where people line up for lunch.

“I love my job,” said. “I love doing this for my people.”

Shepherd's Table Food Kitchen in downtown Raleigh.

Smith is one of just three staff members in the kitchen providing hot lunches to people in need five days a week. In the pandemic, staff and volunteers now have to work harder than ever.

“They have been the backbone of this operation, because what 25 people used to do in a day we’re now doing with five a day,” said executive director Tammy Gregory.

Before March 11, Gregory said companies, especially those in the downtown area, encouraged their employees to spend time volunteering. Then health risks that came with COVID-19 changed everything, with volunteers and donations dwindling and dining rooms meals coming to a halt.

Gregory said it took a day to figure out their next step to feed those in need.

“We have kind of a drive-thru set up, and they can come get lunches,” she said. “We make snack packs too, so they have something for the evening.”

Shepherd’s Table also provides masks, hand sanitizer, sports drinks and water bottles.

Gregory said, since support from the community diminished, the number of hungry people increased.

“They still need food. They have no income. As you know, we’ve lost so many jobs in the hospitality industry,” said Gregory. “These are our neighbors — these are the people you see every day on the street.”

Gregory said the group needs help to meet the need.

“We have over 380 companies just in this downtown area within a four block radius and we’re getting no support,” she said. “We say kindness is shown in different ways. Well, write a check, because that’s kindness for us right now. We need that support now more than ever.”

Gregory said Shepherd’s Table also needs regular donations of canned foods and other non-perishable food. Learn how to support them online.

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Raleigh’s Shepherd’s Table Soup Kitchen desperate for volunteers, donations :: WRAL.com

— The COVID-19 pandemic has placed new demands on many charitable organizations, like the Shepherd’s Table Soup Kitchen, which has served the hungry in the Raleigh area for 40 years and has never struggled more.

Close to lunchtime, kitchen manager Michael K. Smith begins rolling out packed meals from the kitchen to the sidewalk on Morgan Street in downtown Raleigh where people line up for lunch.

“I love my job,” said. “I love doing this for my people.”

Shepherd's Table Food Kitchen in downtown Raleigh.

Smith is one of just three staff members in the kitchen providing hot lunches to people in need five days a week. In the pandemic, staff and volunteers now have to work harder than ever.

“They have been the backbone of this operation, because what 25 people used to do in a day we’re now doing with five a day,” said executive director Tammy Gregory.

Before March 11, Gregory said companies, especially those in the downtown area, encouraged their employees to spend time volunteering. Then health risks that came with COVID-19 changed everything, with volunteers and donations dwindling and dining rooms meals coming to a halt.

Gregory said it took a day to figure out their next step to feed those in need.

“We have kind of a drive-thru set up, and they can come get lunches,” she said. “We make snack packs too, so they have something for the evening.”

Shepherd’s Table also provides masks, hand sanitizer, sports drinks and water bottles.

Gregory said, since support from the community diminished, the number of hungry people increased.

“They still need food. They have no income. As you know, we’ve lost so many jobs in the hospitality industry,” said Gregory. “These are our neighbors — these are the people you see every day on the street.”

Gregory said the group needs help to meet the need.

“We have over 380 companies just in this downtown area within a four block radius and we’re getting no support,” she said. “We say kindness is shown in different ways. Well, write a check, because that’s kindness for us right now. We need that support now more than ever.”

Gregory said Shepherd’s Table also needs regular donations of canned foods and other non-perishable food. Learn how to support them online.

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