Morristown, NJ – – When guests walk through the doors of the Community Soup Kitchen & Outreach Center, they are not only welcomed with a nutritious meal, but they are also given assistance with getting their lives back on track. This help, provided through the Outreach Center right in the dining room, comes in many forms: referrals for drug, alcohol and mental health services; blood pressure, cancer and other health screenings; assistance in securing shelter and housing; guidance with job searches; help with Medicaid and food stamps; legal consults and so much more.
For most of her childhood, Sophia, 25, lived in poverty and cycled in and out of foster care. At 18 she left her abusive foster family and was homeless. Some nights Sophia stayed at shelters, or in a friend’s garage or slept in her car. Just when she thought things couldn't get any worse, it became apparent that Sophia had a mental illness. With no treatment in sight, Sophia was at an all time low and arrived at the soup kitchen for help. Tara, the soup kitchen & outreach center social worker, introduce Sophia to one of the Mental Health Counselors who meet regularly with CSK guests in our dining room. Next Tara helped Sophia secure a permanent housing voucher and a place of her own to call home.
“The Community Soup Kitchen always stood by me,” Sophia says,”I’m grateful for all they did. When I go back to school, I want to be a social worker so I can share my experience with teens and help them make better decisions.”
Success stories like these are possible through the community’s generous support of the CSK’s Outreach Center.
One local organization, The Town Club of Mountain Lakes, recently awarded a $1,600 grant to fund its Outreach efforts.
“This generous grant from The Town Club of Mountain Lakes is crucial because it provides valuable assistance to our guests 365 days a year,” said Nancy Rudgers, CSK director of development. “Our goal is to feed our guests a nutritious breakfast and lunch and give them the tools they need to turn their lives around. This is the second year that The Town Club of Mountain Lakes has provided grant support for the programs and services offered free of charge to anyone seeking help.”
The Community Soup Kitchen & Outreach Center, located at 36 South Street in Morristown, serves breakfast and lunch seven days a week to the area’s working poor, homeless, elderly and disabled. For the past 33 years, the Community Soup Kitchen has never missed a day providing meals. All are welcome and no questions are asked of anyone. Through its Free Farmer’s Market, the CSK distributes nutritious fruits, vegetables and meat to local families. Its Outreach Center workers collaborate with dozens of local agencies to bring medical and mental health assessments as well as shelter, housing, educational and employment services to our guests, right in the CSK dining room. Last year, the CSK served 75,000 breakfasts and lunches; gave away 500,000 pounds of healthy, nutritious food through its Free Farmer’s Markets; provided 125 summer camp lunches five days a week to children of local low-income families; secured permanent housing for 25 homeless guests; and made 10,0000 guest referrals to social service agencies.
The CSK is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and receives no government funding. The Town Club of Mountain Lakes has awarded more than $250,000 in grants to local organizations since 2005. Established in 1959, The Town Club set its mission to build and maintain a strong community. The Holiday Boutique, Holiday House Tour and Spring Jam are the primary fundraisers that make the grant program possible.
The Town Club is also a vibrant social club that welcomes newcomers and provides daytime and evening events for residents to become acquainted with one another. Popular activities include Book Club and Dinner Club. For more information, visit townclubml.org.