Republican American: Opening the doors to Torrington’s soup kitchen

First appeared in the Republican American on 09/16/2018 here.

TORRINGTON – The Community Soup Kitchen is typically a place where the less fortunate can grab a warm meal.

On Sunday, the executive director and board members wanted to accomplish something else: educating residents about what it does and what’s involved in serving 56,000 meals a year.

“What we’re trying to accomplish is the awareness of what we do at the soup kitchen,” soup kitchen Executive Director Lisa Hageman said at the nonprofit’s first open house. “Everybody knows we serve seven days a week and we serve a full breakfast, a full lunch and now we’re starting dinners, but there’s other things we do here.”

The soup kitchen, located in the basement of Trinity Episcopal Church, is a one-stop shop for agencies in Torrington and surrounding area, from the McCall Center to Behavioral Health to the Community Health and Wellness Center. Some of the agencies routinely visit the soup kitchen, while others can send a representative down after a phone call.

The open house wasn’t considered to be a fundraiser, but the board is hoping it can entice local business to sponsor parts of its $156,000 annual budget.

The nonprofit receives no local, state or federal funding and relies solely on fundraising. Just recently, the Chapel of All Saints in Cornwall recently purchased a new $10,000 folding divider for the soap kitchen.

Laura Lemiex, a secretary of soup kitchen’s board of directors, said she hopes Sunday’s open house will increase awareness about everything it does. It’s not only the meals the homeless and less fortunate receive, but also the human connection that many take for granted, she said.

“If they didn’t have this, they’d be wandering around probably not making any connection or getting the help they need,” Lemiex said.

Josephine Radocchio, co-president of the board, has been part of it since local churches started it in 1984. When it first started, about 25 meals were served each day. Now, it’s more than 125, Radocchio said.

Contact Bruno Matarazzo Jr. at bmatarazzo@rep-am.com or on Twitter @RA_BrunoJr.

MediaMeghan FlanaganMedia