The Salvation Army Soup Kitchen provides breakfasts and lunches for families in need who have nowhere else to go for meals. The UUSS Soup Kitchen crew prepared and served nine luncheons during the 2013-2014 service year. UUSS has participated actively in this program for thirty-one years.
In the 2013-2014 year, UUSS volunteers put in over 230 hours and served 1126 meals at the Salvation Army Soup Kitchen. The need is great. The recent Farm Bill cut funding for hunger. SNAP or food stamp benefits were cut to an estimated 850,000 households-mainly public housing residents by an average of $90/month. We have noticed an increase in the number of people experiencing food insecurity at the Soup Kitchen. Whereas there were previously about 100 attending each luncheon, we must now prepare food for 150 or more depending on the time of the month.
Our meal consists of a bowl of chili soup, a choice of cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a fruit cup and cookies. We purchase most of the groceries. The Salvation Army supplies bread, juice, coffee, tea, paper products and occasionally fresh fruit or meat for sandwiches. We are among the few volunteer organizations that continue to provide luncheons during the summer months.
The funding for our Soup Kitchen project has come from the Women’s Alliance, the Men’s Lunch Group, individual donations, and an all-church luncheon fundraiser. We have received contributions from the Social Action Council in past years when we needed financial support.
We appreciate the hours of work by many volunteers who have served in this program, some new and some for many years. A big THANK YOU to Bill MacTiernan, Nancy Peterson, Jane and Ken Robbins, Carol Hamblin and Bob Miller, Mary Ann Mangano, Ian Bubb, Barbara Vivier, Nancy and Jon Tobiessen, Charlie Hatch and Jill McGrath, Carol Furman, George Shaw, Michelle Rivera, Reba Mehan, Nikki Singh, Pat Lillquist, George Shaw, Mike and Jacqui Foster, Jackie Skolnik, and David Pratt.
How you can help: volunteer, usually on Mondays seven times a year, from 10 am to 1:15 pm, making soup and sandwiches, filling fruit cups, serving food and beverages and other general lunch preparation and cleanup tasks. There are two shifts; most people volunteer for either 10:00 am to 11:45 am or from 11:45am to 1:15 pm.
Call or email the UUSS contact person, Kendra Pratt, for more details on how to help. More information about the Soup Kitchen is also available at the Social Action table.
The Salvation Army Soup Kitchen is located at 222 Lafayette St., Schenectady, NY, 346-0222. www.salvationarmy.org.