This week we welcome guest blogger David O’Sullivan, Executive Director/Coordinator of Community Soup Kitchen in New Haven. You can reach David directly at Soupkitchen@christchurchnh.org.
Community Soup Kitchen began operations in 1977. A small group of Yale students and their spouses saw the need in the community and decided to create a place where those who are homeless could get a free meal. For the last thirty-six years, we have been a uniquely, stable resource for the homeless and anyone in need. From almost the very beginning, we have been located in the Parish Hall of Christ Church (an Episcopal church situated right downtown.) From our location, we have gotten the nickname of the “Broadway Soup Kitchen.”
Our operation includes providing lunch four days a week to as many as 300 of New Haven’s most needy citizens. Additionally, we provide food for other local lunch and breakfast programs, such as Saint Luke’s Lunch Program for Women and Children. We also supply many local churches with various essential food assistance including the Saint Martin DePorres Catholic Church, Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church, and Saint Paul’s Union A.M.E., altogether providing 68,402 meals in 2012. Based upon our first six months, we project a 17% increase and expect to provide as many as 80,000 meals in 2013.
Along with our feeding programs, CSK hosts several services including nurses from the Hill Health Center (who provide first aid, blood pressure screenings, referral to other medical services, and vaccinations) and blood pressure screenings from “HAPPY” (Hypertension Awareness Prevention Program at Yale). We are a worksite for court ordered community service workers from the New Haven, Milford, Meriden and Derby Superior Courts, for the SAGA (State Administered General Assistance) program, and for the “Chapel Haven” residential program. We work with Liberty Community Services to provide information & referrals as well as a free, on-site HIV test and CARE (Community Alliance for Research and Engagement) to assist in SNAP outreach. Finally, we receive donated books from New Haven Reads (a local literacy organization.)
Along with being part of Cook and Care, Community Soup Kitchen is a member of the Connecticut Food Bank, the Connecticut Anti-Hunger Coalition, End Hunger Connecticut!, the Greater New Haven Emergency Food Council, and an associate member of the Interfaith Cooperative Ministry.
We here at CSK pride ourselves having a long history of providing for the homeless and those in need. Our goal is to go out of business for lack of need; however, until that happens we will continue to feed everyone who comes through our door in a compassionate, dignified, and efficient manner. We serve as a way to both maintain essential services for the thousands below the poverty line here in the city while also effectively reaching out to all those in Greater New Haven area who want to help us alleviate hunger in our community.
Although Community Soup Kitchen has grown from the first few years, we continue to a local effort with volunteers, help, and support coming from the entire greater New Haven area.