The Long Beach Soup Kitchen, an organization dedicated to feeding the hungry, recently separated from its longtime parent organization in December and became an incorporated nonprofit.
The Hempstead-based Interfaith Nutrition Network, a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization that feeds those who are less fortunate, houses the homeless and oversees local kitchens throughout Nassau County.
“We had become big enough and self-sufficient enough over the years that we were capable of establishing our own 501(c)(3),” said the kitchen’s president, Rob Blau. “We’ve become a mature organization and we’re very happy about it.”
Previously known as the Long Beach Food and Friendship INN, at 140 W. Pine St., volunteers have been serving hot meals at the kitchen since 1983, Blau said, and was one of the first kitchens to open in Nassau.
“We need people to recognize that there’s a need for a soup kitchen in Long Beach,” Blau said. “It’s important for the community. When I started at the soup kitchen, nobody even knew that Long Beach had a soup kitchen. Very few people knew, and we spent a lot of time making the community aware.”
On April 25 at 6:30 p.m., the Long Beach Soup Kitchen will host its fifth annual fundraiser at Lola’s Craft Kitchen & Cocktails, at 180 W. Park Ave., to raise money and collect non-perishable food donations.
“It’s our most important fundraising event of the year,” Blau said, adding that the event will include raffles, live music, appetizers, beer and wine.
Blau said the kitchen serves lunch to 25 to 30 guests per day, six days a week — it’s closed on Sundays. Additionally, the kitchen has opened on holidays including Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter for the past several years to cook traditional meals for guests, and it’s been a “tremendous success.” Volunteers also donate hats, gloves and various clothing items during the cold months.
When Blau joined the kitchen about 10 years ago, he said, there was no stove, oven or other cooking appliances. Everything was cooked using microwaves and electric skillets. The Long Beach Lions Club recognized the kitchen’s needs and donated a stove.
After Hurricane Sandy devastated the city, the kitchen was forced to close for about five months. The Lions donated enough money to be able to rebuild the entire kitchen and supply it with new equipment, Blau said. Now, the kitchen is equipped with stoves, ovens, sinks and a walk-in freezer. Many local contractors and organizations also donated money and resources to help with the effort to rebuild.
“We are a full-functioning kitchen right now,” Blau said, “which is something that we were never for many years.”
For more information about the fundraiser or to RSVP, contact (516) 889-9241 or visit longbeachsoupkitchen.org.