WILLIMANTIC, Conn. (WTNH) — In 1981, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church started a soup kitchen in its basement. But the soup kitchen has grown so much that it bought the building.
“We all enjoy the food and the drinks here. Amen,” April Knowles said grace in a place which has been a saving grace for so many in Willimantic. Dozens filled the tables for lunch on Thursday.
Each year the Covenant Soup Kitchen feeds five thousand people. The need continues to grow but they’re now getting a smaller serving of state and federal funding.
“I always knew that they were serving 150 to 175-thousand meals a year and I’m going now they have a mortgage?” said David Foster who runs Shaboo Productions in Willimantic.
He and his friend Bruce John who runs the Bread Box Theater which puts on concerts to support the soup kitchen have teamed up to bring some big acts to town.
“The Temptations are the headliners,” said Foster who actually sang with them once. A picture of the performance hangs in his music company warehouse.
The Temptations came through for him with this concert and so has Eastern Connecticut State University along with local banks and businesses.
“It’s a blessing,” said Kimberly Clark, Executive Director of the Covenant Soup Kitchen. “This place is magic and it happens because of the community. So it’s amazing.”
Take a look at the rest of the line up. Jonathan Edwards, NRBQ, and David Foster and the Shaboo All Stars will all perform Saturday in Jillson Square. Organizers are hoping for a big crowd in the downtown Willimantic park.
“We’re going to try to get the hundred thousand dollars that it’s going to take to pay the mortgage off,” said Foster.
“That would benefit the soup kitchen and it would help us all out ya know and it’s really blessed to have these people care for us,” said Knowles who eats at the soup kitchen everyday.
There is also an emergency food pantry there and its goal is to feed each person from each family three meals a day for three days.
The concert starts at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets can be bought at the gate for $30 or in advance for $25 at the Willimantic Food Coop or online at shabooreunion.com.