, Derry, New Hampshire


November 14, 2013

Sonshine Soup Kitchen struggles to meet need

Local soup kitchen serves dozens daily

DERRY — The mother-and-daughter team of Heather and Stephanie Colbert volunteer at Sonshine Soup Kitchen on a regular basis to help prepare and serve meals.

The women say it’s one way to make a simple difference in someone else’s life.

Volunteers like the Colberts are at Sonshine every day, spending a few hours to make free, nutritious meals for the hungry.

That’s also a reason why the local soup kitchen is one of “603 Reasons” that New Hampshire is special.

“I did some soup kitchen volunteering while I was in college,” Stephanie Colbert said. “I wanted to get involved in the community.”

Both mother and daughter work at the Pater real estate office in Derry. Heather Colbert said all her years helping with Girl Scouts kept her wish to volunteer going strong.

“I always believed you need to give back,” she said.

Feeding the flock is Sonshine’s daily mission and has been for 23 years, bringing out local volunteers representing churches, schools and businesses to take on kitchen duties, preparing meals and serving guests.

The space in the lower level at First Baptist Church is tight, prompting Sonshine to keep searching for a new permanent home, a place close to the center of Derry that would offer better space at a good price.

There are many limitations at the current location, including only one restroom, no handicapped accessibility, not enough parking, and limited space to store food and other donations.

The kitchen’s “Build to Feed” campaign reached its goal of raising $50,000 earlier this year to match a local grant for the purchase of a new building.

With the money in place, the search continues.

There have been locations that might suit the kitchen’s mission, but nothing concrete yet. For now, Sonshine works within its tiny space, often feeding upward of 50 people per day.

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