Salvation found at soup kitchen

Dave
Dave Mathieson
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Clara Jury (left), Linda Clark and Linda Bickerton have some fun while preparing sandwiches Thursday morning at the Salvation Army. 

AMHERST - The Salvation Army soup kitchen continues to be busy.

"We get anywhere from 40 to 60-plus people here every Thursday," said Linda Clark, community ministries worker with the Salvation Army.

The soup kitchen on the corner of Victoria and Hickman Street has been active for about five years.

"We get young families with children, right up to seniors and everything in between," said Clark.

The soup kitchen is open every Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

It's not just a financial need, it also provides a social need, because a lot of the folks who come here are living alone," said Clark. "They are widows or widowers who have to cook for themselves, so they'll come out, not just for a meal, but for the social aspect because they sit around the table for about an hour or an hour and a half just chatting and socializing."

The soup kitchen is free but donations are accepted at the door.

"There's no fee at all because we want to make sure the people who need it most get a good meal once a week."

The kitchen serves soup and sandwiches.

"We have two different businesses that sponsors the soup," said Clark.

"We have the (Country) Stiles Bed and Breakfast one week and the Wandlyn Inn does it the following week and they rotate throughout the year," said Clark. "Every second week they'll bring in a big pot of soup."

The volunteers also rotate throughout the year.

"We have three volunteers each week. We have three one week and a different three the next week, and they rotate back and forth."

The volunteers make the sandwiches.

"Sometimes there will be sweet but not always. The volunteers, if they have time, will bake a batch of cookies or squares."

Clark says they enjoy running the soup kitchen.

"It's fun to hear the laughter and the conversation going on out there, and when you see some of the people coming in who really need the meal it's fulfilling to know we're able to help in that way," said Clark. "And you get to know them on a first name basis and some will stop and chat every time they come in."

The soup kitchen is open to all people.

"We normally run from September to the middle of December, and then start again in January and run through until about the middle of June," said Clark. "With the cost of light and heat in the winter time they don't have as much money to buy groceries."

The Catholic Church also has a soup kitchen.

"We're not the only one in Amherst to do this," said Clark. "The Holy Family Parish has a soup kitchen on Tuesdays (from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.)," said Clark.

The Salvation Army soup kitchen is located at the corner of Victoria Street and Hickman Street, and the Holy Roman Parish is at 63 Church St.

Organizations: The Salvation Army, Wandlyn Inn, Catholic Church

Geographic location: AMHERST, Hickman Street, Victoria Street

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