Waterville’s Sacred Heart Soup Kitchen Closes After 40 Years
Something that we never like to have to report on is the closing of a community organization that aims to better the lives of those they serve. In this particular instance, the Sacred Heart Soup Kitchen located on Pleasant Street inside the Sacred Heart Church in Waterville, had a mission to feed all those that were hungry. Sadly, this mission has come to an end.
According to the Kennebec Journal, a combination of factors has led to the decision to close the doors. One of the biggest factors is that the church building, which hasn't been used for Masses since 2006, is in the process of being sold. The staff at the soup kitchen have no way of knowing whether or not the new owners would allow them to continue operating there once it's sold. Additionally, who knows if their rent, if they were allowed to stay, would remain the same. The Sacred Heart Soup Kitchen currently pays $200.00 a month in rent to the Sacred Heart Church.
Another contributing factor is the current COVID pandemic. Despite moderate cases in Maine and no new deaths, the restrictions continue to increase. This is causing a bit of a headache for those at the soup kitchen. The kitchen, which originally closed 'temporarily' in March due to COVID, has said that there is no adequate way to adhere to the Mills' administrations guidelines on social distancing while working in the kitchen.. there just isn't room.
Lastly, the staff at the Sacred Heart Soup Kitchen is all elderly. According to the KJ, no new younger people have stepped up to help. This leaves the burden to serve on those who are already in the highest risk demographic. Financially it would also be challenging to open back up and continue operating. According to soup kitchen officials, many people who were consistent financial backers of the program have stopped giving all together.
In the meantime, former soup kitchen workers say the SNAP program may be able to help many Mainers through this time of need. Additionally, there are other food pantries out there that can help, including the Capital Region Salvation Army which serves both the Augusta and Waterville areas.