Nashua soup kitchen relying on businesses
NASHUA - With summer looming and the school year winding down, the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter will have to rely on local businesses even more to make it through the lean summer months.
When the summer hits, not only does the Soup Kitchen lose a valuable pipeline to local schools for food drives, but many children in the district who qualify for free or reduced lunches, lose a free or affordable daily meal. Currently the Nashua School District has five elementary schools where at least 40 percent of the student population qualifies for free or reduced lunches.
"It is extremely important that local businesses do food drives for us in the summer months, our goal is to not have any drop-off when schools go out of session," Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter social worker Eileen Brady said.
Mary Johnson, manager of Logix Federal Credit Union, said that is exactly when she is currently running a food drive through Logix for the Soup Kitchen that will last through the end of May.
"We've donated money to them before, but I know that with school closing (the soup kitchen) has a harder time staying full, and this has always been in the back of my mind," Johnson said.
Once she decided she wanted to have the food drive, Johnson said she ran it by Logix senior management, and with their blessing then designed a food drive where anyone can stop by, pick up an empty bag, fill it with canned goods and cereal, and bring it back. Johnson said that after Memorial Day weekend, she would bring all of the food over to the soup kitchen.
"During the summer we have a much bigger need for things like canned good and cereals," Brady said, "but in the winter time we don't even have to ask, with Christmas we just get it."
Along with Logix, Brady said the owner of the seven-story building Logix is located in at 30 Temple Street, R.J. Finlay and Co., has been instrumental in letting the rest of the building's tenants and local business community know what Johnson is doing.
"It is extremely, extremely important to be involved in the community, we need to take care of our own, and rich or poor everyone deserves to have a meal on the table," Johnson said.
With the support of the local business community, Johnson said the word has spread about her food drive. "Parents from local schools have come in and taken multiple bags to give to their children and their friends to fill up."
With the shelter, food pantry, and soup kitchen, Brady said the Nashua Soup Kitchen and shelter services hundreds of families every day.
"Without drives we would in a bind definitely, it not only brings in food but they also bring in awareness that not everyone is doing as great as they are," Brady said.