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Food & Shelter
Bristol Herald Courier - July 8, 2020
BRISTOL, Va. — In response to hardships many are experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, The United Co. Foundation Ministry’s soup kitchen is providing its clients with food boxes instead of soup.
The soup kitchen, which is on the campus of the former Sullins College in Bristol, Virginia, started the food box program in June, and it continues through July. One box provides enough food for each recipient to have a lunch every day for a month, said Peggy Littleton of The United Co. Foundation.
Michelle Booher, executive director of the Soup Kitchen, said that the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic deepened the need for the pantry’s service in the community. She added that the pandemic also made the staff more aware of food preparation practices.
“Fortunately, the way the food is packaged, it’s like getting takeout, and since some of our recipients are older and challenged in their mobility, having these meals brought to them during this time is an increasingly essential service,” Booher said.
For more than two decades, the soup kitchen has prepared and delivered soup, crackers, and milk five days a week to Bristol, Virginia residents in need. It is one of the largest free kitchen programs in the region, according to a news release from The United Co. Foundation.
“Folks rely on this service. It is such a worthwhile investment of our time, and it makes our hearts feel good to know we’re making a difference in our community,” Booher said in the release.
Funded and operated by the foundation, the soup kitchen works in collaboration with area churches and volunteers to prepare and distribute the meals. The service was expanded earlier this year to include residents of Bristol, Tennessee, and currently provides meals for up to 1,000 individuals each weekday.
Michelle Booher (left), executive director of the Soup Kitchen, and April Hayes help load a shipment of food boxes for June's distribution.
The United Company Foundation strives to serve the community in an effective manner with available resources while displaying fiscal responsibility. We apply innovative approaches to achieve positive measurable outcomes while using accountability and evaluation measures when contributing to the long term improvements of our community.
The United Company Foundation was created in 1986 to provide assistance to charitable organizations in our local community and throughout the surrounding region. The Foundation is a private non-profit entity providing grants to eligible 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. The Foundation makes substantial contributions of time and money to those organizations served.