Carbondale soup kitchen serves record number of meals

As you prepare for your big Thanksgiving meal, many without the luxury of a home cooked meal turn to places like Carbondale’s Soup Kitchen.

It’s been a record breaking year for the number of meals served and mouths fed at the Illinois soup kitchen. But those in charge say that’s not always a good thing.

"Our business is booming, and that isn’t good," Good Samaritan Executive Director Mike Heath said.

Heath says this past fiscal year has been the Soup Kitchen’s busiest on record, serving up roughly 33,900 meals.  He says he’s happy they’re feeding more, but says it’s indicative that more people around Carbondale are going hungry, something he credits to Southern Illinois’ economy and recent closures of different industries in the area.

A cook at the soup kitchen, Dave Lochbihler, says he’s always seeing more hungry mouths to feed.

"You just have to cook more. And hopefully you’ve got enough to cook. I haven’t run out yet,” Lochbihler said.

For someone who used to come to Good Samaritan himself for a meal, Lochbihler says he’s happy to fill the bellies of those around the community. But, after serving up more meals than ever before, folks at the Soup Kitchen say November is looking to be a record month, too.

Running on roughly 20 percent less money without state funding, staff members say things are getting tighter around Good Samaritan. And demand, they say, only gets higher with the holiday season.

"It’s amazing how many people are hungry, and we’re trying to make a difference," Heath said.

For now, they say they’ll keep cooking and hope the pot doesn’t run out.

Good Samaritan’s soup kitchen serves three meals a day, 365 days a year. For more information on the soup kitchen or to find out how you can help, visit their website.

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