By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY — A local food ministry is still searching for a new home.
With space tight and a big need to expand, Sonshine Soup Kitchen's building committee members are looking for a new location, one they hope will be within a half-mile radius of the current location at First Baptist Church.
The space now has only one restroom, no handicapped accessibility and not enough parking for the many people who come by on a daily basis.
In April, the soup kitchen reached its goal of raising $50,000, part of its Phase I Build to Feed Campaign to support a new building and location.
Donations came in from community organizations, businesses and individuals.
Sonshine's executive director Cynthia Dwyer said the soup kitchen needs a location that would allow it to stand on its own.
It would also give the ministry more room to serve the growing number of people needing help.
On average this year, she said about 56 people are being served meals daily.
Sonshine has served the community for 23 years. In 2012, the soup kitchen served 15,163 meals.
Add in the more than 8,000 hours of volunteer time and it’s a community service that joins many groups together to help others.
Brian Gallagher works at Sonshine as a kitchen coordinator. He said earlier this summer that he likes coming to Sonshine and enjoys helping people and making a difference.
“I like connecting with people in a meaningful way,” he said. “It’s more than just helping people. It’s the community we build here.”
Dwyer said she is thankful for all the years spent at First Baptist.
"Using that space for (this outreach) is very good for the community and the church," she said.
Dwyer said the right space is out there. There have been leads on prospective properties, but the search is still on.
"When the time is right and the building is right, it will happen," she said.
Donations of food and clothing are always welcome at the soup kitchen office at 4 Crystal Ave., Monday through Friday. Call 437-2833.