"It's my favorite place to come," she said. "It's a happy place."
Swinarski said bringing young volunteers like Dharma along is a teaching tool.
"It helps them learn to be compassionate and to widen their horizons," she said.
St. Luke's United Methodist Church joins St. Jude as one of Sonshine's original supporters. The Derry church is committed to raising its $1,000 contribution to help Sonshine.
"It's so near and dear to our hearts," longtime St. Luke's volunteer Kim Champoux said.
Jean Roalsvig has been helping for many years. She now shares time at Sonshine with her 16-year-old daughter.
"We go twice a month," she said. "There are people that have been there since the beginning."
Roalsvig said the experience is more than preparing meals and sharing time in the kitchen. It's the fellowship, meeting the guests and having a chance to talk to them.
"We know the regulars and they know my name," she said.
Volunteer Joanne Packard said it's time for Sonshine to grow.
"The mission is growing and we have run out of room," she said. "There's just no room at the inn."
A campaign kickoff for the "Build to Feed" campaign is set for Feb. 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the soup kitchen, 44 East Broadway.
All are invited to attend to hear about how to help support the mission and plans to find a new space. RSVP to SSKbuildtofeed@myfairpoint.net.