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Feeding the hungry, even during a pandemic

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The Long Beach Soup Kitchen has gone into high gear since the onset of the coronavirus, doubling the number of meals it serves each day.

Under the leadership of Robert Blau, the Soup Kitchen's president, the establishment has been feeding nearly 40 people daily. Before the pandemic, Blau said, the organization would provide meals for about 20 to 25 people. He said that in addition to their regulars, he is now seeing many new faces every day.

“What we’re trying to do is give our guest comfort food,” Blau said. “Stuff that they feel good about that everyone would like during these times.”

Soup kitchen volunteers are preparing grab and go meals, which include sandwiches, soups, fruits, chips, cookies, juice boxes and hot meals. Donations have been coming from local restaurants such as JJ Coopers, LB Social, J.A. Heneghan's Tavern, The Food Mill in Point Lookout and Speakeasy, among others.

Additionally, Blau said, the Long Beach VFW Post 1384 and the Michael Diamond Charitable Foundation have also donated “an amazing amount of food” and resources that will help feed many in the community.

The soup kitchen is open Monday through Saturday and volunteers serve meals at around 11-11:30 a.m. Blau said that they try to serve individuals as quickly as possible, while also complying with social distancing.

Blau added that they have minimized volunteers and are working with 12 person staff. Each shift consists of three to four people, who are all wearing masks and practicing social distancing.

“We’re doing everything we can to keep ourselves safe, our guest safe and to give them some sense of satisfaction,” Blau said.

The soup kitchen is also working with the Point Lookout Yoga and Wellness club and the Point Lookout Civic Association to deliver food to the elderly. Blau said that they are trying to do anything they can to help the community and added that they were even giving out toilet paper and other supplies to those in need.

“When we’re here it’s all about helping,” Blau said. “We’re doing it because this is what we do and what our volunteers have been doing for years.”

For people looking to donate to the Long Beach Soup Kitchen, they can visit http://longbeachsoupkitchen.org or email Blau at Blau.rob@gmail.com.