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Lending a Hand: Nashua Soup Kitchen

By Elisha Neubauer

Hunger is a growing problem across the world. It strikes every city, every community; it doesn't discriminate against race, sex, or age. Seeing the mounting crisis in Nashua, a group of women from local churches banded together in 1981 to battle the problem. Eight years later, they hired an executive director and have been helping the poor and homeless in the community ever since.

Nashua Soup Kitchen seeks to promote dignity and self-sufficiency for those it serves. "The agency has always believed that people who are poor or homeless and in need of the most basic things deserve to be treated with respect and with minimal intrusion into their lives," explains Lisa Christie, Executive Director.

"We have always fed anyone who showed up for a meal in the soup kitchen, no questions asked." She goes on to explain that the organization does not ask for any identification or names. "The founders of the agency believed that just being in need was humiliating enough in our society and we don't want to add to it. We have always worried more about folks in need who are too proud to ask for help than whether or not someone eats here who could afford to eat somewhere else."

On top of providing meals, the Nashua Soup Kitchen provides an Employment and Education program to help improve the situation of those in need. "We know that some people need a helping hand now and also need opportunities to improve their situation," says Christie. Nashua Soup Kitchen offers interviewing skills, resume help, job leads, computer access and assistance, and job attire. The group even pays for education: "everything from GEDs to college courses to certification," Christie says.

Nashua Soup Kitchen is not alone in its devotion to bettering the community. "About 75% of our agency budget is from private contributions," says Christie. "We probably have over 1,000 regular volunteers who help prepare and serve meals, clean, garden, hold food drives, etc for us." The remaining budget comes from fundraisers like the Annual Run/Walk for Food & Shelter in the spring and the Annual Dinner Auction in the fall. Other events include the annual Bag Hunger campaign, the Empty Bowls fundraiser, and more.

The Nashua Soup Kitchen is always looking for volunteers to help out. If you're interested in lending your time to help the community, make sure to contact the shelter. They do ask that volunteers be at least 12 years of age and that you call ahead to be placed on the schedule. Donations can be made through their website at www.nsks.org or mailed to them at NSKS, PO Box 3116, Nashua, NH. Feel free to call 603.889.7770 for more information.

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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