About Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter
About Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter
1981: Simply Soup & Sandwiches
The Nashua Soup Kitchen was begun by a small group of concerned women and men who noticed there were hungry people in Nashua. The soup kitchen was only open a few hours, three days a week, serving simply soup and sandwiches. All support came from private donations.
1984: Eight Beds
The Nashua Area Shelter for the Homeless was founded. The first shelter was on Temple Street and had only eight beds. In 1986 the Shelter Committee purchased the building on Ash Street which is currently in use and has 20 beds.
1989: NSKS Created
Lisa Christie was hired as the Nashua Soup Kitchen’s first executive director. Six weeks later the soup kitchen merged with the Nashua Area Shelter for the Homeless, and NSKS was created.
1991: 10 Years of Service
NSKS celebrates 10 years of serving the community.
1993: Excellence in Management
NSKS receives the Walter J. Dunfey Award for Excellence in Management. This competitive award is given by The Corporate Fund of the NH Charitable Foundation to non-profits in the state exemplifying leadership and good management. The Soup Kitchen began serving breakfast this year after we realized that only one school in Nashua had a breakfast program and that many families with children who ate dinner here sent the kids to school without breakfast.
1994: Kinsley & Chestnut Property
NSKS purchased the property on Kinsley and Chestnut Street. This fulfilled a long held dream of a separate shelter for women and families with children. (Unfortunately the later increase in homeless families has meant we also still have women and families at Ash Street.) We also opened our three units of transitional housing to allow homeless families a longer period to transition back into the mainstream.
The Employment Advocacy Program also began in this year and highlights our focus on helping people help themselves.
1996: 15 Years of Service
NSKS celebrates 15 years of community support.
1997: HUD Funding
Employment Advocacy Program adds HUD funding to assist homeless persons in gong back to school and with resolving barriers to employment.
2001: Goal to End Homelessness
Agency board and staff commit to ending homelessness and spearheading efforts in the community to develop a plan to end homelessness.
NSKS’ 20th anniversary.
2002: Excellence in Management (Again)!
NSKS receives the Walter J. Dunfey Award for Excellence in Management for the second time.
2004: A Plan To End Homelessness
“A Home for Everyone: A 10 Year Plan for Ending Homelessness in Greater Nashua” is written and adopted by the community. A NSKS board member wrote the draft for the plan.
NSKS purchases a nine unit building to create permanent affordable housing.
2006: Champions in Action
Our 25th Anniversary Year! We were voted as July, August & September 2006 Champions in Action – HUNGER by Citizens Bank and WMUR.
2007: Breaking All Records
We exceeded serving 200 meals in one evening for dinner in the soup kitchen for the first time.
Through our Backpacks for Back to School program, we distributed more than 1,600 backpacks filled with school supplies to children in need.
Our annual dinner auction was the most successful fundraiser to date, raising $122,000.
2008: 100 Families a Day
Started distributing a dozen eggs with each emergency food bag request and a gallon of milk for families with children.
15th Anniversary of our 5K Run for Food & Shelter. Inauguration of our 10K race. Our 5K and 10K are designated NH State championships for RRCA.
We are visited by about 100 families a day for fresh produce and bread.
We ended the year with an amazing challenge from a very special donor who said they would match every dollar we raised up to $500,000. We exceeded the match and received the entire $500,000 from our generous donor.
In December we added chicken to all of our weekly food bags.
2009: Focus on Healthier Eating
Our focus is on helping people eat healthier and in providing more nutritious foods to folks who come the Nashua Soup Kitchen. We have increased the amount of meat, fresh produce, milk & eggs we give out. In response to the recession and increasing numbers of families needing help, our food baskets have more food. We are giving out about 30% more food baskets than last year.
We purchased the first truck the agency has ever owned to allow us to pick up more food from the NH Food Bank, USDA, and local restaurants.
Our fundraiser “Run for Food and Shelter” is the first road race in New Hampshire to be designated “green” by the Council for Responsible Sport. We are a certified Silver event.
2010: 6139 Meals Served
In May of 2010, during the ongoing recession, we had more people eating in the soup kitchen than we ever have before. We served 1,705 breakfasts and 4,265 dinners. That is almost 6,000 meals in one month!
In August, we broke all records for meals served in one month. We served 1,755 breakfasts and 4,384 dinners. That was a total of 6,139 meals served!
Through our Back to School program, we distributed 1,958 brand new backpacks filled with school supplies. The Nashua Board of Education and the Superintendent of Schools recognized our program at their monthly meeting for outstanding accomplishment and outstanding leadership.
2011: Our 30th Anniversary
We welcome our 30th anniversary!
In April, we held our 18th annual Run for Food and Shelter at a new location—the Muldoon Fitness Center at Rivier College. And we are recertified Silver as a “Green Race”.
In August, we successfully distributed 2,280 brand new, (filled with new supplies) backpacks to children in grades K – 12. The Greater Nashua Boys & Girls Club hosted us for this event.
On August 29, we served 283 unduplicated meals at one dinner, the most we have ever served in one evening. Of those meals, 27 were children.
In September, we welcomed Kyle Fields as our new Kitchen Manager/Food Rescue Coordinator.
2012: Capital Campaign Begins
We designate the first hour of dinnertime for “families” to better serve the increasing numbers of families with children coming to eat at the soup kitchen.
We find a new property to move the soup kitchen, food pantry and programmatic space to larger quarters which will allow us to serve people more efficiently and with greater dignity. After many months and thousands of dollars spent, the Nashua Planning Board denies our application. The VFW hears about this and calls to tell us they need to downsize while we need to upsize. A better building has been found. We start over.
We begin our capital campaign with Lori Lambert and G. Frank Teas as our co- chairs. We raise over a quarter of a million dollars by year end.
We collaborate with Greater Nashua Mental Health (Community Council) on a small permanent housing program for chronically homeless adults. A week before the holidays two of our shelter guests move into their own apartments.
2013: 2318 Brand New Backpacks
We celebrate 32 years of serving those most in need in our community.
In August, we successfully distributed 2,318 brand new, (filled with new supplies) backpacks to children in grades K – 12.
By December, we successfully meet our capital campaign goal of $2 Million. Planning for renovations and the move continues.
2014: Quincy Street Location Opens
Renovations begin in March at 2 Quincy Street.
A national foundation gives us a challenge grant of $100,000 for last dollars raised so fundraising continues for rest of the project.
Business offices and food pantry move into new location week of September 16th.
First meal served at new location (dinner) by Board members and staff September 22.
First full day of services at 2 Quincy Street September 23.
2015: Urban Garden Project Begins
Showers and laundry facilities for homeless persons without access to these basic needs opens in our new building.
Urban Garden Project on our outside space begins. Volunteers build the raised beds. Produce & herbs grown for use in the soup kitchen and food pantry.
2016: New Refrigerated Truck
We turned over the keys to our old soup kitchen building on Chestnut St to Greater Nashua Habitat for Humanity. Our mission will continue there when they demolish it and build affordable owner occupied housing for two low income families.
Purchased our new 20 foot refrigerated box truck with money raised through our Fund A Need event at our annual dinner auction. We received the truck the last week in December and use it for food rescue at local businesses Monday – Friday.
2017: Welcome Michael Reinke
Lisa Christie, the agency’s first executive director, retires after 27 and a half years. We welcome Michael Reinke as the new executive director.
Nashua Meals for Kids kicked off in June after school recessed for the summer. NSKS started delivering twice a week, 6 cooked, frozen dinners to children in the Dr. Crisp Elementary school area who were eligible for free lunch.
2018: First Solar-Powered Nonprofit
Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter becomes the first solar-powered nonprofit in Nashua Thanks to ReVision Energy. The solar system is expected to save roughly $176,282 over the life of the system and produce approximately 43,080 kilowatt-hours of clean electricity per year. This reduces more than 45,000 pounds of carbon pollution annually.
In partnership with Saint Patrick’s Parish, NSKS announces its plans to convert the former Spring Street Sacred Heart School into emergency shelter by the year 2021.
2019: Building an Urban Garden
NSKS and Grow Nashua team up to build urban garden beds in the green space behind Citizens Bank. We also launch our first Mobile Pantry, delivering groceries to three locations in the city. By 2021 our Mobile Pantries have expanded to 13 locations, providing fresh produce to underserved neighborhoods.
2020: Rising to the Challenge of COVID-19
NSKS responds quickly to the COVID-19 pandemic, continuing to provide food and shelter without interruption. Thanks to the cooperative efforts of clients, volunteers, and staff, there is not a single documented case of COVID-19 transmission in either the shelters or the soup kitchen.
In order to reach individuals experiencing homelessness who are unable, for whatever reasons, to come to the soup kitchen or shelter, NSKS creates an outreach program to deliver essential supplies, from tents to pet food, in the community, and to help people connect with needed services.
2021: NSKS Celebrates 40 Years
NSKS celebrates its 40th anniversary and launches the $8.5 million Spring Street Forward campaign for a new shelter at 35 Spring Street. The new shelter will more than double our capacity and enable us to offer a wide range of on-site services to help clients secure stable housing.
GuideStar Seal of Transparency
Champions In Action
Excellence In Management
Our Board of Directors
Krishna Mangipudi, Vice President
Jerry Ryan, Treasurer
Madeleine LaRose, Clerk
Years Serving Those in Need
Meals Served (Daily)
Children in Our Community
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