By Brooke Hasch,
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) — A Louisville shelter and soup kitchen says it’s seeing a record number of people walk through its doors this holiday season.
The last few months have brought in an extra 2,000 people needing food and a place a sleep. Staff at Saint Vincent de Paul say the donations just aren’t meeting the need. Dozens of people waited their turn for a hot meal at St. Vincent de Paul’s Open Hand Kitchen Saturday.
“Without a place like this, I can’t tell you where I’d be at,” William Fant said. Fant lives at the men’s homeless shelter next door. He’s currently going through a drug recovery program. “Trying to get my life straight,” Fant said.
He’s not alone.
“A lot of the people that eat in our kitchen are the working poor. They’re maybe two income families that just can’t make ends meet to support their children,” Linda Romine said. It’s a burden that falls on soup kitchens like this one.
“Our Open Hand Kitchen here serves 7 days a week, 365 days a year,” Romine said. In the last few months, Romine says charity has fallen short. “We serve 120,000 free meals every year, so that requires a lot of food,” she said.
That’s not counting 500 Christmas baskets for area families. “These are holiday food baskets that we’re going to give away next week for families in need,” Romine said. Halfway through the collection process, the food ran out.
“We’ve never been in this situation before,” she said.
Romine says unless more donations come in the next couple of days, it will be up to staff to purchase the necessary goods, like canned green beans, corn, stuffing and instant mashed potatoes. The ingredients to a Christmas meal for those who’ve been hit the hardest.
St. Vincent de Paul says donations are always appreciated. The greatest needs right now are canned food and twin air mattresses for White Flag shelter days.