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Pottsville News

Meal Service to Stop at Pottsville Soup Kitchen Sometime This Summer

Soup kitchen serves up to 100 needy people 4 days a week

The future of the Pottsville Area Soup Kitchen, as it operates right now, is in serious jeopardy.

At some point this summer, meals will no longer be served out of the Mahantongo St. building that currently serves dinner for up to 100 people from Monday through Thursday.

Instead, Catholic Charities-Diocese of Allentown intends to utilize a new food truck, called Catholic Charities Community Café, to serve meals to needy people across all of Schuylkill County. And it appears it won’t be able to get meals to those in Pottsville as often as they eat at the Soup Kitchen, four days a week.

At some point this summer – Catholic Charities does not have an exact date – food preparation will no longer happen at the Pottsville Area Soup Kitchen building. Instead, this will move to Holy Family Parish Hall kitchen in Minersville. Meals will be prepped there and loaded onto the food truck and taken to one location per day in Schuylkill County.

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“Once the food preparation transition to Minersville is complete (which will occur sometime this summer), meals will no longer be served at 504 Mahantongo Street,” Lina Tavarez, the executive director of communications for the Diocese of Allentown tells The Canary via email.

When this happens, meals will no longer be served to people at the Pottsville Area Soup Kitchen. Those who depend on those meals will learn of a distribution point for meals to be served from the new food truck.

“This change is being made to support the thousands of additional meals that will be prepared in support of the Catholic Charities growing mission to feed the hungry throughout all of Schuylkill County,” Tavarez says. “Service in Pottsville will be continued, with a distribution site still to be determined.”

Andrea Neagle, the managing director of Catholic Charities-Diocese of Allentown further explains how meals will be served via the new food truck instead.

“Eventually we will do services Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays throughout the county,” Neagle says.

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Neagle adds that Catholic Charities is still “working out details on how we’ll serve patrons in Pottsville” and that it’s still looking for a site where meals will be delivered.

“We have a schedule for some service days. We are ramping up. We still need to staff up and get our volunteers ready to go,” Neagle says. “Our service schedule is dependent on where we are welcome.”

Catholic Charities says this change will allow it to serve more areas of Schuylkill County outside of Pottsville. It says that in the first three days its food truck has been in service, more than 400 meals have been served.

It’ll next be in McAdoo on Thursday, from noon until 1:30 p.m.

“We feel a strong motivation and desire to serve all of Schuylkill County,” Neagle says.

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40 Years of Service at Pottsville Area Soup Kitchen

Sometime this summer, meals will no longer be served out of the St. Patrick’s Pottsville Area Soup Kitchen, says Catholic Charities-Allentown Diocese. (Coal Region Canary photos)

Regardless of serving more of Schuylkill County, this change will likely cause issues for the people served by the Pottsville Area Soup Kitchen. It serves between 70-100 meals four days a week.

The amount of meals served through the soup kitchen has grown noticeably in the last four years, volunteers say.

Earlier this year, it marked 40 years of service to Pottsville after it opened in March 1984. It operates entirely on donations and volunteers.

In addition to serving meals, Pottsville Area Soup Kitchen provides coats, clothing, blankets and more to the needy.

Volunteers at the soup kitchen tell The Canary that the building is more than just a place to eat. There’s a sense of community and camaraderie among those served by it.

In the summer, it’s a place to cool down for a bit. And in winter, it’s a place to get warm.

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Aside from serving as a soup kitchen, the building at 504 Mahantongo St. also serves as an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting spot and is headquarters for the non-profit group Dustin’s Adventureland.

The organization’s president, Jeff Dunkel, tells The Canary that the potential changes coming to the soup kitchen building are a concern for the non-profit. It utilizes the building for storage and a space for board meetings in addition to prepping meals for its charity events.

Dustin’s Adventureland and the soup kitchen lease the building from St. Patrick’s church, just down the street in Pottsville.

“I’m concerned for the people who rely on those meals 4 days a week,” Dunkel says about the potential of the meal schedule changing in the near future. “The soup kitchen has been cornerstone for 40 years.”

He’s also worried about the fate of the soup kitchen from his organization’s perspective.

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“I’m trying to find out where we stand,” he says. “It’s a major concern for us. We need to know about our meeting place. If we’re getting kicked to the curb, we need some sort of heads-up.”

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18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Coalregion12

    June 9, 2024 at 4:54 pm

    I am sure the food truck, will workout quite well in the winter months or in the rain. I am sure people will line up with tempatures in the teens and snow on the ground for a meal with nowhere to eat it at.(sarcasm)
    So how do the needy/homeless find out where this food truck will be? Online?(sarcasm again)
    Love how Catholic Charities has to “work out details”.
    Don’t forget, Alcoholic Anonymous meets at 504 Building.

    • Frank

      June 10, 2024 at 9:27 am

      AA will be fine.
      Catholic Charities is actually expanding the service.
      Also there is much repairs needed for the building. That building will not be an option in the future either way.

      Maybe you can help work out those details.

      • James

        June 10, 2024 at 10:55 am

        So what if the building needs repairs. There are enough people in the community willing and ready to help do whatever needs to be done. It’s just an excuse.

        • Frank

          June 10, 2024 at 12:46 pm

          Thanks for stepping up James! It could really use your help.

        • Coalregion12

          June 12, 2024 at 4:23 pm

          James I will definitely belp.

  2. Deb

    June 9, 2024 at 5:39 pm

    I am very much concerned about the residents of Pottsville that depend on this meal four nights a week. What are the other local communities now doing to help their needy residents? I do not want to deprive them, as no one should have to go hungry in this country, but why put an end to a good program? I didn’t even conisder the weather extremes that those waiting at the “truck” will have to endure. Let’s try to think things through more carefully.

    • James

      June 10, 2024 at 11:01 am

      Exactly. And how may I ask if they can’t afford food and rely on these meals do they expect people to afford gas and vehicles to get to the truck? What sense does it make? I’ve volunteered there and most everyone coming in walks. They can’t afford food let alone a vehicle or gas. How can you go from serving all those people 4 days a week. To only twice a week and that’s only if they find a location to distribute the meals from. It makes absolutely no sense. Not to mention should people be able to actually make it out to the truck wherever it may be, what are they going to do in the rain,wind,snow? Here’s some food better eat it before your soaked,it’s blown away,or you freeze to death. Make it make sense!

  3. Sur Braconaro

    June 9, 2024 at 8:58 pm

    Why would the soup kitchen have to end to start a food truck to feed the other communities. There is enough need for both.

  4. Maria Casey

    June 9, 2024 at 9:51 pm

    Lord, when did I see you hungry? Apparently, the Diocese did not reflect on this passage in the New Testament. From four days a week at the Soup Kitchen to maybe one. What about the children and elderly who will now have to wait outside this food truck in inclement weather, intense heat, and freezing temperatures? Keep the Soup Kitchen along with the food truck.

    • Frank

      June 10, 2024 at 9:29 am

      Ms Casey, what about the hungry that will now be reached by the food truck?

      What about the much needed repairs to the building.

      I can’t believe people are putting down an improvement to a hunger program.

      • James

        June 10, 2024 at 11:26 am

        It’s not an improvement but a set back. The math isn’t mathing here. 70-100 people a day four times a week to maybe 1 or 2 meals a week. If they can even make it to wherever the truck may be. How is that an improvement? Yes there is need throughout the county no one disputes that but this in no way is an improvement. What Are these people supposed to do the rest of the week when they can no longer get the meal they so desperately need? Yes other people throughout the county need help too but there’s got to be a better way.

        • Frank

          June 10, 2024 at 1:35 pm

          I call it an improvement definitely because they will be reaching out to people they didn’t reach before. You mention how will people get food now at only one day a week vs 3 or 4. What about the people that had 0 days a week of service that will now get it? It’s amazing how many were fed by the local Catholic Charities over the years. They can only do so much though. It’s not like they have unlimited resources.
          Hopefully this turns a good thing even better.

      • Maria Casey

        June 10, 2024 at 9:19 pm

        Frank, read my comment. Keep both.

        • Frank

          June 11, 2024 at 5:36 pm

          Maria, I read your comment. Who’s money would fund both?

          • insider

            June 14, 2024 at 10:33 am

            Simple.The Diocese,including Catholic Charities,has more than enough resources to fund both.There is obviously more to this story than meets the eye.Shutting down and selling this property will add to the already substantial treasury of the diocese,even though they cry poverty.”Feed the poor”can be done fairly for both.This is a slap in the face to Terry Alexander and the hundreds of volunteers who have labored for over 40 years.

  5. me

    June 11, 2024 at 6:58 am

    it looks like stokesy from minersville has his nose up the bishops rear,he seems to get everything he wants including unlimited awol’s he is no shepherd he is a freeloader livin the high life

  6. Charisse

    June 12, 2024 at 8:56 pm

    So, who is this “Frank” that is the only one defending this horrible decision?

    He must have something to gain!

    Has he ever volunteered here and met these people? I have, I’m here usually two times every month.

    If the building needed repair why wasn’t that addressed and sent out? I am positive there would be donations, volunteers to do work and businesses that would help.

    • insider

      June 14, 2024 at 10:44 am

      To be”Frank”,you must toe the Diocese line.Subjugate yourself to the hierarchy.

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