Eastern Carolina soup kitchen works around higher food prices, more visitors

People eat food at soup kitchen
People eat food at soup kitchen(WITN)
Published: Jul. 13, 2022 at 7:26 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Housing costs are sending more people to shelters and soup kitchens, but one soup kitchen in Greenville is organizing new ways to bring in money.

WITN talked to volunteers and a visitor at Joy Soup Kitchen about what they’re doing to get by and why they rely on the community’s help to make ends meet.

For everything from salad to dessert, Joy Soup Kitchen’s got you covered. Each meal is carefully planned and served by volunteers.

“Serving the community and helping any way we can. Obviously, that always feels good to do,” volunteer Brian Warren said.

But with prices on the rise and more people needing help, Thomas Quigley, head volunteer and board chairman, knows putting these meals together is getting harder and harder.

“Green beans and yams that used to be $5 a can, now they’re $9, $10, $11 a can,” Quigley explained while walking through stock shelves. “The numbers have almost doubled. In 2020, we did 27,598. 2021, was 42,491. And if we keep tracking now we’re halfway through 2022, we’re gonna hit about 49,000 this year.”

Visitors like Garland Taylor know it’s harder than seemingly ever to afford basic necessities.

“I come here every day before work, eat something before I get into the long day, but this helps a lot. It helps a lot of people, and it helps a lot of kids,” Taylor said.

Faces like Taylor’s are why Quigley said they’re bolstering efforts to collect donations by setting up a tent out front of their location on Albemarle Avenue Wednesday.

“A lot of people will send money to organizations, and they never see where that money goes. This is your way of saying, hey I’m donating chips, I’m donating cookies,” Quigley said.

Even with donations, creativity is seeming more like a necessity. Quigley said they often plan meals around what’s on sale and buy in large amounts to get by. It’s an effort that takes careful planning, but he said it’s one he’s proud to take on.

“You ever feed somebody and they eat your food, they look at you and they smile? That’s what we go for here and it’s great,” Quigley said with a smile.

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