No one should be hungry or homeless in our community.
The Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter, Inc. is a private, non-profit organization providingmeals, emergency shelter, food pantry 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.
Executive Director’s Blog
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to go into the basement of the old Sacred Heart Elementary School on Spring St. and went down into the basement. Standing in the south west corner were the cast iron pads which formerly had supported the two boilers responsible for heating not only the classrooms in the upper floors but also the main sanctuary and the parish center, whose gym faces Main street. As I stood there looking at the empty space, I thought of the children of Irish, Lithuanian, and Polish immigrants who had arrived in the 1870s and 1880s and how they needed a place to go to school. The men and women of the time felt building the school was so important that they worked nights and weekends, finishing the building in the space of nine months. When the doors of the building opened in 1892, it was a gift to perhaps the most vulnerable members of Nashua at the time and an opportunity for a brighter future.
Almost 130 years later, we stood in this corner of the building, the original brick exposed on the wall and floor. The asbestos and lead paint had been removed along with the boilers and most of the immensely large pipes. The space was now ready for something new. After forty years of minimal use as storage and a temporary home for the Gate City Bike Coop, the building is ready to be reborn, again to serve the most vulnerable in our community. Families with children and single adults experiencing homelessness will find refuge and an opportunity for a brighter future after spending the night on the streets, in a car, or a night or two with a friend after consecutive friend.
Over the past eight months, problems which have long festered in our nation have been brought to light. Certainly, the experience of homelessness is one. Where in the past we might have thought the problem was tied to an individual’s lack of responsibility or a family’s struggle with a substance use disorder or a mental health diagnosis, today we understand that whatever the cause, the challenge faced by one person or one family is really an opportunity and a responsibility for us all. Spring St. Forward, the name of our campaign, will provide the space for Greater Nashua to support those most vulnerable and most at risk. Parenting classes, AA meetings, and GED certification will take place in the classrooms. Young children will finally have a place of their own to play. Older children will join the PALS activities taking place in the gym or benefit from a proposed homework center on the grounds of the Church of the Good Shepherd. Single adults with difficulty staying housed will have a supported, permanent place to stay.
As we moved outside, and raised our honorary shovels to mark the advent of a new phase in the building’s history, I could not help but thing that the sweat and tears and love which raised the building in less than a year had carried across the decades reborn into a new day.
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