Community Soup Kitchen Strengthens the Safety Net
One of the oldest food programs in Greater New Haven has expanded its footprint to help more people.
A cheerful, clean, safe, and reliable place to eat is not a privilege but a human right. Community Soup Kitchen has been guided by that belief for more than four decades, serving regular meals to our hungriest neighbors at churches and other locations in New Haven.
The nonprofit was recently supported with grants from the COVID-19 Community Fund and the The Basic Needs Fund.
The organization is expanding under the direction of executive director Joshua Lamarr Watkins, who took the helm in January 2021.
Watkins stepped in as the Community Soup Kitchen was working under challenging new protocols brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency has had to shift from serving its meals in a congregate setting inside to serving outside and providing meals to go. The agency has also expanded its offerings to include more meals.
"We have kicked it up a notch," Watkins said. "The guests we are serving are not necessarily homeless. Many have jobs. We serve everybody and everyone, and we’ve stepped forward to go beyond serving one meal. People can have as many meals as they want," said Watkins.
Previously Director of Programs at Tuxis Pond Assisted Living Facility in Madison, CT, Watkins has helped expand the Community Soup Kitchen's network of grocery store partners that donate fresh produce and meat. He has also overseen the opening of a satellite location in Hamden at the Keefe Community Center.
In addition to serving meals, Community Soup Kitchen has been a host site to agencies such as Hill Health Center, and the ACCESS mental health outreach team.