Soup to Nuts, a charitable soup kitchen that has been serving the public since 1987, has adapted its operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, the organization opened its doors Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, serving multiple courses and accommodating around 100 guests per seating.
However, with the onset of the pandemic, Soup to Nuts had to modify its approach and adhere to state protocols, transitioning to a take-out meals-only system. Despite facing challenges such as the departure of some volunteers, the organization experienced an influx of new volunteers who stepped up to support the revised format. Marian Hart, co-president and treasurer of Soup to Nuts, expressed gratitude for the dedicated volunteers during this challenging time.
“You see the good that does exist that doesn’t get enough attention and people are giving, you know, volunteers are committing acts of kindness that we see constantly,” Hart said.
In the midst of the pandemic, Soup to Nuts faced significant challenges as the availability of food and donations dwindled. With a shift away from primarily providing hot meals, the number of visitors to Soup to Nuts went down, resulting in a drastic decrease in daily meals served to less than a hundred individuals.
Previously, the organization used to receive four pallets of food donations, but now they receive less than one pallet. Despite the initial difficulties, the dedicated volunteers at Soup to Nuts rallied together and developed a new three-day system to accommodate the public’s needs.
“We were very thankful first of all to be open, and we have a bunch of wonderful volunteers,” Hart said. “They are absolutely wonderful volunteers. The soup kitchen makes a lot of us feel good.”
Currently, Soup to Nuts maintains its grab-and-go operation, providing hot meals to those in need. As the organization moves forward, its leaders are convening a meeting this week to discuss the potential reestablishment of the pre-pandemic format.
Co-president of Soup to Nuts, Marla Massaro stated that she supports the idea of returning to the way they operated pre-pandemic.
“Downstairs gives [the organization] a more of a comforting feeling,” Massaro said. “It’s more homey, it’s more comforting, especially in the dining room, rather than just take your lunch and leave. I think it has a more I would say comforting, you know, it’s more of warmer feeling not only weather wise but it’s just a warmth of feel.”
Following the initial meeting, a subsequent gathering with all volunteers will be held to discuss future plans. Concerns surrounding health and safety have raised apprehension among individuals, leading the organization’s leaders to anticipate a significant decline in volunteer participation.
To find additional information about Soup to Nuts, visit their website at souptonutssoupkitchen.org or head to their physical location at 61 North Grove St, Christ Lutheran Church.