Belfast Soup Kitchen preps for Christmas and its new building

BELFAST, Maine (WABI) - The Belfast Soup Kitchen is celebrating Christmas and marking a big New Year's resolution.

Mary Brand, President of the Belfast says, "The Belfast Soup Kitchen has a long history."

Since 2010, the Belfast Soup Kitchen has been operating as a non-profit staffed primarily by volunteers.

Brand says, "Maine is number 12 in the nation for food insecurity. Food is medicine. It can help so many people just to have a good meal a day."

That's exactly what folks can expect from the Belfast Soup Kitchen.

But space at their former location was limited and their vision for the future just wouldn't fit.

Brand says, "If you look at our mission statement, we talk about a safe environment, a safe community where the guests can find food, comfort, and hope for the future. Where was the hope for the future? We were taking care of the food, the comfort, and the safe community."

The board went to work and with the help of some generous donors, an architect and community support have built a brand new state-of-the art soup kitchen that embodies their hope for the future.

Brand says, "We are going to be able to collaborate with other non-profits to address some of the other needs that our guests might have."

The new building is expected to be ready by the end of February.

They are currently serving guests out of a space at Reny's Plaza in Belfast, but it just wasn't big enough for their annual Christmas dinner.

So, the Parks and Rec Department offered up space at the Belfast Boathouse.

Sheldon Snell, Christmas Dinner Coordinator says, "It's going to be Christmas by the Bay we're calling it."

The dinner has been going strong for seven years, and volunteers say they expect to serve roughly 100 people in need.

Snell says, "It means just as much to my volunteers as it does to the people that need it. Everybody needs something to do at Christmas, and a lot of times they just don't have that. Anybody can come. If you don't have a place to go and you live in the local Waldo area, it doesn't have to be just Belfast, come on in."

Donations of warm clothing, gift cards, movie tickets, or food can be taken directly to the Belfast Soup Kitchen or you can call for a pick up.

If you'd like to donate money go to belfastsoupkitchen.org.