Ruth House is adding mobile soup kitchen to its list of services.
Since March 20, volunteers have been serving daily meals from a concession wagon behind Ruth House, a clean and sober day drop-in center and overnight warming center for the homeless at 632 Grand Ave. Food is available from 5-5:45 p.m.
Meal fixings are donated by community members and cooked on-site. They are distributed in to-go containers as visitors maintain appropriate social distancing. The meals have ranged from spaghetti to cheeseburgers to wild rice soup and sandwiches.
The meals are meeting a community need, as Solid Rock Safe Haven’s soup kitchen is temporarily closed. Millie Rounsville, executive director of Northwest Wisconsin Community Services Agency, which runs the shelter, said the cook recently moved to Milwaukee and they are seeking to hire a new one.
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Ruth House, a ministry of Walking Victorious Ministries, had already been serving a free community meal on Sundays, the one day of the week the Solid Rock soup kitchen didn’t operate. They’ve stepped it up to daily meals and moved it outside to comply with social distancing guidelines.
Pastor Jack Swonger of Walking Victorious Ministries said they’ve had the concession wagon for about a year.
“We use it quite often. We have a cotton candy machine, hot dog machine, we’ll just go around and feed people,” Swonger said.
In its new capacity, the concession wagon serves between 15 and 40 meals a day.
“If we have leftovers, we just eat them for lunch the next day,” said Chrissy Foster, Ruth House manager and Walking Victorious program coordinator.
Some people come regularly for food. Others just once.
“It’s awesome to see. You meet so many cool people,” Swonger said.
The Ruth House serves the homeless and can continue to operate under the state’s COVID-19 restrictions.
“We are still open but we’re trying to minimize the number of people who come through the building as much as possible,” Foster said.
Donations of blankets and clothing are not being accepted at this time, but non-perishable food and funding are still needed.
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