The Long Beach Soup Kitchen has been serving the community for the past 40 years. The work they do cannot be accomplished without the support of the surrounding community.
“We’re going to ask for donations,” said Jeanne Hoenig, the soup kitchen’s community outreach liaison. “We’ll be asking for donations of juice boxes because we give those out daily.”
During the month of November, will be their Juice Box Drive. The goal is to collect 1,723 juice boxes by Tuesday, Nov. 28, which is recognized globally as Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday is the charitable endcap to Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good.
So why is the goal 1,723?
The Long Beach Soup Kitchen serves many meals monthly and in addition to the hot meal, the guest is given a brown bag lunch with a juice box each time.
Businesses supporting the “Giving Tuesday Juice Box Drive” where you can drop off your donation to help The Long Beach Soup Kitchen achieve its 1,723 goal are from East to West will be Joyful Treasures, East End Pizza, Bright Eyes Beer Co., Blacksmith’s Breads and the Magnolia Senior Center.
You may also make juice box drop-offs directly between 9 and 11 a.m., Monday through Friday, at 140 West Pine St. Contact Maureen Doherty at (516) 451-1071, if you need assistance with picking up any donations you would like to make to the soup kitchen.
“It’s the first time we’re doing it,” Hoenig said. “My friend’s daughter is actually the one that came up with it, and I was in awe of it.”
The soup kitchen is open every day. Its pantry, which allows people to come to a window and shop for groceries, is available Mondays and Thursdays. Some people begin lining up before 8 a.m., even though it doesn’t open until 11:15.
Most of the kitchen’s food supply is donated by Trader Joe’s, which delivers soup, vegetables, fruits, meats, bread and canned goods each week. The soup kitchen also gets donations from neighbors and local groups. In addition to Trader Joe’s, Blau said, the generosity of the community and additional contributions from Island Harvest and Long Island Cares can always be relied on.
The soup kitchen, across from the Recreation Center, has a different normal than most other places. When Covid-19 was at its peak, and virtually everything else was closed, kitchen President Robert Blau and volunteers were working and the facility remained open. Meals were in high demand, and the occupants of vehicles that pulled up often asked for not just one, but sometimes five or six meals, for an entire family.
Before March 2020, meals could only be given out and eaten inside the kitchen, at its tables. Once the coronavirus began to spread, that wasn’t possible anymore, but more people than ever needed meals. So an adjustment was made that is still in operation today: meals-to-go.
To learn more, visit the kitchen at LongBeachSoupKitchen.com.