No one should be hungry or homeless in our community.
The Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter, Inc. is a private, non-profit organization providing meals, emergency shelter, transitional housing, food baskets and advocacy to homeless and low-income men, women and families with children. The soup kitchen, at 2 Quincy Street, serves dinner seven days a week and breakfast five days a week.
Nashua Meals for Kids
A year ago, we wrote about a conversation with Mayor Donchess, Corpus Christi, Ending 68 Hours of Hunger, the Salvation Army, Southern New Hampshire Services, and the United Way where we dreamed about ending childhood hunger in Nashua. One year later, that dream is becoming a reality. Over the past eight months, at just one elementary school, more than 20,000 evening meals have been distributed to hungry children. At least 3,190 bags of food have been provided for the weekend. Here are some of the successes, lessons learned, and next steps.
We initially focused on the school with the highest rate of students getting free and reduced lunch, Dr. Crisp Elementary. Southern New Hampshire Services provided breakfast and lunch over the summer while Corpus Christi, E-68, and the Salvation Army worked together to provide summer back packs of food. NSKS had not previously prepared frozen meals and we worked through several different models before finding a way to bring the cost of preparing a meal down from $1.35 a meal to $1.00 and we are now distributing over 700 meals a week.
We explored several different ways of distributing food at Dr. Crisp and settled on a model using the school as a focal point during the school year with a supplemental distribution point at the Major Drive Apartments located near Allds St. In November, we added the Title One pre-school located at the First Congregational Church on Concord St. We are about to launch a partnership with the Nashua PAL program and we are in conversation to begin a similar partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Nashua. Just as important as distributing prepared food, we have developed a model for the distribution of fresh produce.
While there is much to celebrate, there are also lessons learned:
- Location: Our original model for the summer was to identify six locations evenly spaced across the elementary school district. We quickly learned that the population needing meals was clustered in several specific neighborhoods. After several weeks, we adjusted our distribution points. When the “home-school” liaison started reaching out to families, we adjusted again and made the school and her office the main point of distribution.
- Working with the school: While we have found the actual school to be the best point of delivery, distributing at the school is difficult when school is in session due to safety concerns. A community center, adjacent to the school, is opening up and we are actively exploring using this facility to serve as a central point of distribution.
- Funding: We continue to work long term financial support for this project. We have raised over $15,000 locally from Nashua including a very generous commitment from Nashua Paint and Wallpaper/Ace Hardware. An
nually, we need 300 people to sponsor a child at $30 a month to end childhood hunger in Nashua.
If you have not yet made a commitment to Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter or if you can make an additional commitment to help kids in our community, please call 899-7770, text NSKSFAN to 41444, or visit us online at nsks.org.
“Bag Hunger”™ is Back
Memorial Day weekend begins our campaign at Nashua Hannaford. You can support NSKS when you check out by scanning a coupon for $2, $5 or $10 and adding it to your bill. 100% of your donation comes directly to us to support our programs. Harvest Market in Hollis also runs this program all year for us. We are grateful for these partnerships with our business community to end hunger. Please support them.
Our Organic Gardens
If you would like to help us plant, water, pick, and maintain our gardens this year, please email Shane firstname.lastname@example.org or give him a call at (603) 889-7770.
We are looking for the following items which we will happily accept used if they are in good condition:
- Hanging baskets/planting pots of any kind
- Watering wand
- 5 gallon Buckets
- Organic soil/fertilizer/compost
- Rain Barrel
Please note that our garden is organic only.
Grant For Bike Program
The Gate City Bike Coop through the Employment and Education Program of the Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter received a grant from the Bishop’s Charitable Assistance Fund to provide bike supplies for low-income individuals. The Bishop’s Charitable Assistance Fund makes grants to tax-exempt organizations without regard to religious affiliation for projects that help people in New Hampshire meet their basic needs.
Volunteers of the Month
“Always hold firmly to the thought that each one of us can do something to bring some portion of misery to an end.”
– Bonnie Acker
As a Nashua CROP Hunger Walk Team Leader and Team Leader for volunteers from Temple Beth Abraham to assist at the Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter, Becky Green is a very busy woman! We are thankful for her fight against hunger – including coordinating the course of the Crop walk to pass directly past our agency and also making sure we have volunteers on Tuesdays to help with breakfast, serving, meal prep & in our Food Pantry. Thanks for your dedication Becky!
Our Breakfast Team on Thursday & Friday is bolstered by the volunteer efforts of Dave Grebowski. Dave recently joined our Board of Directors and has shown his support through various activities at NSKS. We are very happy he’s part of our team! Thank you, Dave, we appreciate your enthusiasm and commitment!
We have a fantastic group that comes in for several hours every Tuesday and Thursday – Easterseals NH! They help sort through all the fresh fruits and vegetables that our truck delivers that morning. Always eager to help, it’s a group we look forward to coming in with their smiles and hellos! They give generously of their time!
Thanks for coming in everyone! – Carol Weeks
- On our race day on Sunday, April 8th
- Run, walk and fundraise for our race
- In the food pantry during the day
- Hold a food drive for a needed item
- Check our website for more ideas
Please Give Generously
- Rice – any type or brand, 2 pound bags are best
- Jars of Peanut Butter
- Canned Fruits/Fruit cups for kids’ lunches
- Canned Protein – Tuna, Chicken, Turkey, Ham
- Body Wash or Bars of Soap
- Toothbrush & toothpaste
- Razors and Shaving Cream
- Deodorant (men’s or women’s)
- Diapers – Large or X-Large – any brand
You Can Still Participate
Our 25th Annual Run/Walk for Food & Shelter sponsored by Red Hat is almost here. Sunday, April 8th, we will have our 5K & 10K runs, 3K walk, and Kid’s Sprint. We will have the Corporate Team Challenge for the 5K.(see below)
To register and more information visit our website. We will also have pre-registration and number pick-up at Fleet Feet in Nashua from 10 – 2 Saturday, April 7th. Race day registration will be available. We need runners, walkers and people to fundraise for those participants. Our corporate sponsors are listed below. It is not too late for your company to join them in supporting this great event. Email Carol at email@example.com.
Corporate Challenge Cup
Register your employees for the Corporate Team Challenge! This event is open to corporate teams of 3 or more 5K runners, 10K runners or 3K walkers. For your 5K runners, the Corporate Cup will be awarded to the team with the best 5K race time determined by the three best times in a team where runner’s time, age and gender will be considered. There is also recognition for the team with the most participants and the team that meets the highest fundraising goal.
Register your team: http://www.lightboxreg.com/nsk-2018
We love our local sponsors! We would like to thank these businesses.
Currently, they include:
Unity Construction Inc.
CORPORATE TEAM SPONSOR
Granite State Salvage Co. Inc
Eaton & Berube Insurance Agency
Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union
Apple Therapy Nashua
Bar Harbor Bank & Trust
College Bound Movers
Cullen Collimore PLLC
The Print Factory
Executive Directors Blog
You can never say “thank you” enough!
- Thank you to Margret Jones, Robin Peringer, and everyone at NHS who made this year’s “Empty Bowls” an even better than last year!
- Thank you to Oracle for a corporate gift of $20,000!
- Thank you to Boston Billiards for making NSKS one of the agencies to benefit from your support.
I will say again that I am truly amazed and grateful for the warm reception and can-do spirit of everyone I’ve met. We are blessed to live in such a community.
– Michael Reinke
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