NASHUA — Trading in large shovels for massive spoons, the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter officially broke ground this week on a major renovation project at their new facility.
“This has been a very long time coming, and it is a direct result of a lot of hard work from the entire community,” said executive director Lisa Christie.
On Wednesday, local officials celebrated the start of a $2.7 million renovation to the soup kitchen’s new home at 2 Quincy St., the former Nashua VFW post. The organization will continue operating from its current site on Chestnut Street until the official move, which is expected to take place near the start of September, according to Christie.
The project includes a new heating system, electrical system, roof and elevator, along with many other improvements.
The biggest improvement will be a waiting area for patrons to congregate before receiving meals and food, a separate family dining area and a spacious pantry where clients may select their own food choices, she said.
“People sometimes stand outside for an hour waiting for food,” said Christie, noting the new facility will enable individuals to avoid the elements and have a warm, safe and private place to wait.
Nearly $2.2 million has been raised so far, acording to Christie.
“We are still fundraising for this project,” she said, thanking generous donors such as the city of Nashua that have contributed to the renovation costs.
It is important for those people in the community who are down on their luck to know that the city really does care about them, said Mayor Donnalee Lozeau, who congratulated the Nashua Soup Kitchen for being able to raise such a large amount of money in a relatively short amount of time.
An anonymous, national foundation has stepped up to donate the last $100,000 of the project once the remaining funds have been collected, said Christie.
The new location is significantly larger, and will enable the soup kitchen to feed more than 125 clients simultaneously. In the past three years, the Nashua Soup Kitchen has tripled the amount of meals it serves on a regular basis, according to officials.
With the local VFW looking to downsize, and the soup kitchen planning to expand, representatives from both organizations said previously that the property agreement benefits both groups.
Although the VFW has not yet found a new home, VFW officials said earlier that the organization will continue to function in Nashua, and plans to remain in operation for many years to come.
Anyone interested in making a donation to the Nashua Soup Kitchen may visit its website at www.nsks.org, call 889-7770 or mail funds to the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter, P.O. Box 3116, Nashua, 03061. email@example.com