News from the Belfast Soup Kitchen by Mary Brand, President BSK Board
The Belfast Soup Kitchen is a busy place with its guest numbers increasing, its capital fundraising generating funds for the new building, and becoming a visible sign of our caring community. The BSK has come a long way since becoming a nonprofit 501(c)(3) ten years ago.
The evolution of the BSK is a story worth telling. From its humble beginnings as an outreach ministry of St Francis Church which realized it could no longer support the Soup Kitchen with the downturn in the economy in 2009. At that time, some parishioners and concerned citizens worked together to form a Board of Directors; and with a lawyer’s guidance, became a nonprofit.
The old Belfast Center housed the BSK for a number of years. When the increase of guests and meals served due to many causes (in recent years exceeding 21,000 annually) the need to find another home was paramount. The Board searched for another suitable rental to no avail. An anonymous donation was precipitated by our story in the press. It became possible to dream and plan in a major way. So, the Board started to envision a whole new facility designed to meet the needs of the guests to allow us to address the many reasons for their life situations.
Currently, the BSK Board is in the process of building a new soup kitchen at 29 Belmont Avenue, conducting a Capital Fundraising Campaign, and facilitating the operations for the present BSK at Renys plaza. It takes a village to keep all the balls in the air, so to speak, as the daily volunteers cook and serve the nutritious meals, five days a week year-round. They are supervised and helped by the only paid staff: manager and assistant manager.
The mission of the Belfast Soup Kitchen is to provide a safe community where the guests can find food, comfort and hope for the future in an atmosphere of dignity and respect. Maine is number one in New England, and number twelve in the nation for food insecurity. Since our community cares, the BSK is able to exist and help our local citizens, who are food insecure, because food is medicine.
If you would like to help go to belfastsoupkitchen.org – THANK YOU!