The Community Soup Kitchen Hunger Walk

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The Community Soup Kitchen Hunger Walk

K. Bergen

K. Bergen

K. Bergen

Dodger staff on the walk

Shira Buchsbaum, Copy Editor/Writer

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On a warm October Sunday, over a thousand people gathered at the Morristown Green to participate in the Community Soup Kitchen’s Hunger Walk. This record-breaking turn out raised close to $100,000, and money is still flowing in, all of which will be spent on food for both the kitchen and CSK’s Healthy Choices Market.

Julie Hess, the Community Educator of the Community Soup Kitchen, commented that this is “astounding [support] for a small soup kitchen” and represents the growing awareness of the hungry in the local community.

The Hunger Walk, an annual event held by the CSK to raise money for the soup kitchen and their guests, also raises awareness of the great need in the community by doing a “Story-Walk”. The Story Walk assigns every walker the story of a guest of the kitchen and as they walk along the 3 mile route, the walkers receive installments of the stories. A great example of a story is one of a little boy who desperately wanted to be in Little League but couldn’t afford a mitt. His mother went to Walmart in an attempt to find one, only to discover right-handed mitts being sold instead of the left-handed mitt her son needed. As regular guests of the soup kitchen, they were able to find help from the kitchen’s social worker, who found them a mitt. “Stories like these”, Julie comments, “shows that it’s more than food that we are helping people with.”

There are hundreds of stories in the little dining room: stories of the elderly living in cars or storage units with space heaters, all shocking experiences, absolutely unfathomable in a community like this one, yet very real. “The need is great”, Julie reiterates, but also comments that the kitchen helps people in a great variety of ways. Finding housing, providing mental health aid, and procuring jobs for the guests are just a few of the many services the soup kitchen provides. Events like the Hunger Walk raise the bulk of the money for these services. CSK aimed to reach their goal of $100,000 and it looks like they will accomplish it as money from the walk still arrives everyday. As the need and want for the soup kitchen’s services grows, this money becomes more important than ever. With some 200 people in the dining room everyday and families flocking towards the Healthy Choices Market, the soup kitchen strives to serve the community to the best of their ability.

As the winter months draw close, the need will grow due to decreases in outdoor labor and increases of unemployment and Julie says the staff is “unable to project guest rates” due to the fluctuation in the economy. The staff awaits a verdict on the current food stamp issue, knowing that a restriction in food stamp aid will translate to a stark increase in numbers.

It is not difficult to help the community. The Community Soup Kitchen is located in the middle of Morristown and volunteers are always welcome (though try not to volunteer for Thanksgiving as some 250 people have called asking to volunteer during the holiday while there are only 10 spots in the kitchen). Events like the Hunger Walk accomplish their goals of raising money as well as awareness for the very fixable issues in the community if everyone just pitched in.

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