HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – As we near the holiday season, for the second year in a row, soup kitchens across the Mountain State will look somewhat different.
The Huntington City Mission is one that says due to COVID-19, their operations have changed drastically.
“We used to do about 350 meals a day with all of them in the dining hall, and now we’re doing 600 plus with none of them in the dining hall,” says Mitchell Webb, the Executive Director for Huntington City Mission.
Webb says they were hoping to get back to the dining hall this year, but with COVID-19 numbers going up, this will be the second Thanksgiving they will be going without that option.
“The people who are residents here at the mission, they will be able to eat in the facility. They’ll eat in their in rooms or in other areas. But the people in the community that come to eat, they’ll either just take the meal with them if they have a place to go or, if not, they’ll just eat on the street,”Mitchell Webb, Huntington City Mission Executive Director
Still, he also explains, along with COVID-19 numbers on the rise, it appears so is the need from the community.
“About four years ago we were doing just over 100,000 meals a year. And it started to increase. Last year, with the first year of COVID, we hit almost 140,000 meals and we thought that was a lot until this year. This year we’re trending, I wouldn’t be surprised if we serve 180,000 meals this year,” says Webb.
Webb says with people not being able to eat inside, it makes a big financial difference to the organization. Not eating inside eliminates the option for items like reusable silverware and trays, and the organization has to purchase items for people to take on the go.
How does this affect the community?
He also says this affects people on a deeper note as well.
“There’s just something to being able to come in a warm place, sit down and eat a meal. So psychologically, emotionally, I’m sure it would help our clients to be able to do that as well,” explains Webb.
The organization says with the uptick in need, they are always looking for volunteers. Anyone interested can click here.