Soup kitchen dining room reopens after two-year closure – The Daily Reporter

Soup kitchen dining room reopens after two-year closure – The Daily Reporter

The Greenfield soup kitchen reopened June 8 soon after a prolonged closure due to the COVID pandemic — a 50-month-extensive closure.

Tom Russo | Everyday Reporter

GREENFIELD — Thirty-1-calendar year-aged Eric Stout thanked the petite girl at the rear of the desk profusely when she handed him a box of pastries to take with him when he left the Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen area on Friday.

“Everyone here has been so pleasant,” mentioned Stout, who is at the moment homeless and residing in Greenfield just after strolling there not too long ago from Lawrence.

Stout was among the 1st patrons to dine at the Greenfield soup kitchen area given that it reopened June 8 immediately after a prolonged closure thanks to the COVID pandemic — a 50-month-lengthy closure, to be precise.

“We’re just so joyful to have all people again,” claimed the kitchen’s director, Jill Ebbert, on Friday afternoon.

The kitchen’s dining space promptly closed in March 2020 at the onset of the COVID pandemic, furnishing acquire-away meals to patrons by means of the entrance door alternatively.

When the staff members tried to reopen last thirty day period, they rapidly shut it down in a lot less than a 7 days when Ebbert came down with COVID.

Her around-exuberance for reconnecting with the patrons she missed so dearly might have been to blame.

Ebbert’s acknowledged for featuring up hugs to people who cease in for a very hot meal, so this thirty day period she’s actively playing it safe and sound for awhile.

“I’ll possibly preserve my distance for awhile,” stated the massive-hearted director, but that doesn’t indicate she won’t be maintaining tabs on the individuals who stroll as a result of her door.

To call the Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen a soup kitchen area is a little bit of an understatement.

Patrons and volunteers say it is extra of a adore kitchen area. A hug kitchen. A spot where persons can get significantly far more than a no cost food.

“The 1st time I arrived listed here, I could not get more than it. Jill and Kathy and the relaxation of them adore these folks so substantially, and the volunteers do far too,” claimed Betty Shewman, the pint-sized volunteer who handed Stout and other patrons their pastries on Friday.

Shewman feels honored to help out at a location that offers a sense of neighborhood to these who may perhaps not if not experience connected.

“We’re all men and women. We all need to have just about every other. As lifetime takes place, any one of us could conclude up needing a spot like this. It tends to make you count your blessings,” she stated.

Ebbert claimed the reopening has been heading slowly but surely, with a variety of patrons continuing to acquire their meals to go as opposed to being and dining at the kitchen area. But she hopes that starts to adjust as term proceeds to distribute.

“On the initially day, we served about 130 people today, but much less than 30 of them were being feeding on in. I’m hoping it will change back about, where many of them occur in to get the genuine encounter,” she mentioned.

Stout was taking pleasure in the genuine practical experience at lunchtime Friday, as he loved a very hot food of macaroni and cheese with a side of fruits and steamed veggies.

“The persons right here are incredibly hospitable. It’s anything I’m not utilized to, specifically staying on the streets,” he said, as he stuffed the pastries into his black backpack.

Stout mentioned he’s been homeless since all around the time COVID strike, attempting to get back again on observe considering the fact that shedding his work as a mover.

“I want to get my life straightened out right here. I feel like that’s what God’s program is. I just followed my intuition to appear in this article (to Greenfield) and I finished up below (at the soup kitchen), and I’m pretty grateful for that,” he claimed.

Ebbert is thankful, also, that the community she enjoys is slowly but surely earning their way back into the soup kitchen, again into the neighborhood she’s so lovingly created to help all those who need to have a helping hand.

“We want to give them extra than meals. We want to get to know them, to converse to them, to enjoy on them, and I can’t hold out to get back again to that,” she mentioned.

Serving meals in the dining space is also far more functional that serving have-out meals, she claimed.

“The have-out materials are incredibly expensive, and I fret about all the waste going to landfills,” said Ebbert. “Plus, they are consuming up all our place in the kitchen.”

The soup kitchen area is serving a lot more foods than at any time ahead of — an ordinary of 140 or so a working day as opposed to 110 or so a working day in advance of COVID hit.

Ebbert said a lot more volunteers and donations are essential to proceed serving the community.

“Cash donations are chosen because I can use them to buy any form of food items at $1.40 a pound from Gleaner’s Meals Financial institution,” she mentioned.

To donate or volunteer, go to or electronic mail Ebbert at [email protected]