A recent donation to a local food pantry will continue to give the gift of giving for years to come.
On Nov. 28, a brand new freezer was installed at Toni’s Kitchen, a local soup kitchen in St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. The double-door, industrial sized freezer was donated anonymously by a resident, said Director of Outreach at the kitchen Anne Mernin.
“They just asked us what we wanted,” said Mernin, “and we told them we really needed a freezer. So they said, ‘Okay, we’ll go and purchase one.’”
The volunteer-run soup kitchen was debating about buying a new freezer for months, said Mernin yesterday as she glanced at handful of large turkeys and chicken cutlets already stored in the freezer. However, the $3,700 price tag was a major deterrent which caused the kitchen to hold off on the purchase.
“We were dreaming of [a freezer]” before the donation, laughed Mernin. “But it’s been an expensive year for us,” noting that the soup kitchen has added Sunday evening meals and a nutritional program in recent months.
While the soup kitchen already had three smaller freezers, the large storage capacity of the new unit, tucked away in a back room among soon-to-be-served food and donated clothing, will increase the kitchen’s storage volume by about 50 percent.
“We serve so many meals every week that we go through a lot of food,” said Mernin.
On Saturday alone, she added, soup kitchen served approximately 90 meals.
“You just never know how many people are coming through the doors ... for a meal."
Meals are served for those in need on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., and Sunday from 5 to 6 p.m.
Toni’s Kitchen is always in need of food donations. Go to http://www.toniskitchen.org/support/food/ for the week’s special requests.
The soup kitchen accepts donations Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., and Sundays between 4 and 6 p.m.
For more information about donating to the soup kitchen, call (973) 932-0768.