DERRY — The first phase of fundraising is complete for the Sonshine Soup Kitchen to find a new, more user-friendly location.
The soup kitchen, which currently has its offices located on Crystal Avenue and shares a kitchen with the neighboring First Baptist Church to prepare meals, raised $50,000 earlier this spring to help find a new location. By raising that money, the soup kitchen became eligible for an additional $50,000 in funds from an unnamed local donor.
For almost a quarter-century, the Sonshine Soup Kitchen has been serving free, hot meals five days per week to those in need from the kitchen of the First Baptist Church.
However, space and efficiency is at a premium for the soup kitchen staff, volunteers, and the dozens of people it serves each day.With the kitchen reaching its fundraising goal, Program Director Christine Fudula said the soup kitchen will soon begin the next step of looking for a new location.
One of the biggest requirements of the new location is that it is within walking distance of where the kitchen now operates, according to Executive Director Cynthia Dwyer.
"We are going to stay in Derry and in the downtown area," she said. "It's very important, because as many as 50 percent of the people walk here."
Early in the fundraising process, the nonprofit took an initial look at available properties to see how they met its needs, as well as scoping out some properties that met its criteria that might not necessarily have been available at the time.
Besides lacking a kitchen it can call its own, Dwyer said the soup kitchen is limited in how much food it can store. Many of its food donations come in the weeks from Thanksgiving to Christmas, and she said it can be hard to make room as the soup kitchen stocks up for the year.
In addition, it also provides a number of other services, including clothing for those in needUnfortunately, according to Dwyer, the soup kitchen has to limit what it can keep for free clothing donations because of a lack of space. That clothing closet is also located in the soup kitchen's main office, where volunteers and donations are coming in and out during the firstname.lastname@example.org