Volunteers Fill Shoes of Soup Kitchen on Hiatus

JHOP

The 6 p.m. soup kitchen behind the Ives Branch of the New Haven Public Library has been on its two-week hiatus since last Friday, but over on the downtown upper green, dinner is still being served.

By 5 p.m. Thursday, at least 50 people were lined up in front of a canopy and tables to grab platefuls of chicken, chopped barbecue, and pasta from volunteers that are supporting JHOP’s effort to feed the homeless in the absence of the evening soup kitchen.

“You can never starve in New Haven,” said Mike Moore, who was standing in the middle of a growing, but fast-moving line just outside the upper green’s center church.

At least that’s the way it seemed on that night, with enough food for people to go back up for seconds. That’s the product of volunteer donations and three straight days of cooking. Dawn Reed is the President and Founder of Jayden’s House, Inc., the organization sponsoring the night’s event. She had some help-from Always There Home Care’s Regina and Kelly McNamara-but she prepared the food herself.

“I’m definitely blessed to be able to do this,” Reed said. “When you’re more fortunate, you have to give back.”

This has been the setup every night since the July 3 closing of the evening soup kitchen, with different organizations serving as sponsors for each event. But the mind behind the effort is Jesse Hardy, JHOP’s lead organizer.

“A lot of people [would be] hungry,” Hardy said. “They’d really be in a jam.”

There is a daytime soup kitchen that does not go on vacation until sometime in August, but food drive goers said that it’s nice to be able to get more than one “good meal”.

“There are people that rely on that soup kitchen,” said Steven Polifka, who says that he has been homeless on and off for about three years. “[But] ain’t nobody going hungry. Jesse’s the best, and he doesn’t ask for nothin back.”

But he could use some food donations to keep the effort going until the evening soup kitchen reopens. Sponsors are giving out water bottles as well. Anyone looking to donate or volunteer can reach Jesse Hardy at 203-821-1957.

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