ALAN COCHRANE TIMES & TRANSCRIPT
Moncton’s Ray of Hope Soup Kitchen hopes to reach the one million meal mark in the next five years, but will need community support to get there, officials said this week.
“Of course, our hope is that the need for soup kitchens will eventually decrease, and someday disappear, but realistically, we expect the demand to continue for the foreseeable future,” Dave Small, the Ray of Hope Soup Kitchen board chairman, said in a news release.“We must ensure that we can maintain our service to the community in the long-term, because the need is ongoing.”
The soup kitchen on Mountain Road in Moncton launched its Million Meals awareness campaign this week, hoping for enough funding for five to seven years.
Small said the soup kitchen has served more than 780,000 meals since it first opened in 1984.Last year, individuals and businesses donated enough funds to prevent the kitchen from shutting its doors.
Since 80 per cent of its operating funds are from donations, the kitchen is now appealing to this same community spirit to ensure it can continue to operate towards its millionth meal and beyond.
“In 2016, many new corporate and private donors came on board to provide both one-time donations and ongoing support,” Small said.“This is in addition to our longtime corporate sponsors who have been with us for many years. Thanks to these community-minded companies and many other donors, the kitchen has been able to keep its doors open; now, more donors are needed to sustain the program in the long-term.”
The Karing Kitchen serves hot meals daily to children, teens, seniors, the homeless and people having trouble making ends meet on a low salary or pension income. A contribution of as little as $10 will feed three hungry people, Small said.
“Ideally, we are looking for donors who can commit any amount on a regular basis, annually or monthly, ”said Mike McKee, a former judge and provincial cabinet minister, who is now a member of the kitchen’s board of directors.
“This will greatly even out our cash flow, and allow us to plan better and start doing preventive maintenance on our equipment, which is getting quite old.”
PHOTO: ALAN COCHRANE/TIMES & TRANSCRIPT