Irene Manthorne and Janet Champdoizeau in the Temple annex in Yarmouth. The Bond Street facility is the site of a soup kitchen the second Thursday of the month.
ERIC BOURQUE PHOTO
By Eric Bourque
A soup kitchen that was launched a few years ago in Yarmouth draws a good crowd, say two of the people involved in the initiative.
Meals are served at the Temple Baptist Church annex in the town’s south end the second Thursday of the month between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
There is no charge for the service, which is run on a volunteer basis by the local Seniors Second Chance club.
The program is for everyone, says club treasurer Irene Manthorne.
“It’s for everybody,” she said. “It’s open to anybody.”
While the service provides people with a meal, she says, there is a social aspect to it too.
“It’s a great time for coming together and we enjoy each other’s fellowship,” she said. “Strangers come in and the minute they enter the door they’re not strangers anymore because we make ourselves known to them.”
They see new people come in as word of the monthly soup kitchen spreads, she says.
“We’ve got really good comments from people,” she said.
She and Janet Champdoizeau, the seniors club president, were discussing the project two days before the next scheduled soup kitchen -- Thursday, Feb. 13 – and they were expecting another big turnout.
Asked how many people they might have on a typical day, Champdoizeau said they sometimes have around 80.
“It depends on the weather,” she said.
The soup kitchen was started by Rev. Robert McCormack, former pastor at Temple Baptist Church, who left Yarmouth a couple of years ago. The seniors club took over the service after he moved away.
About 10 to 12 volunteers help put on the soup kitchen.
A government grant a few years back helped the club do some work at the Temple annex, including redoing the building’s kitchen facilities.
Although the soup kitchen is held at the Temple church annex, Champdoizeau says other local churches are involved too, making it a community effort.
Members of the Seniors Second Chance club meet every Thursday afternoon for a couple of hours and there are plans for a summertime trip to New Minas, she said.
The club meets throughout the year, although the soup kitchen takes a break.
“We stop for the summer,” Champdoizeau said, “but the club keeps going.”