SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – For the past 9 years the Spartanburg Soup Kitchen, says they haven’t missed a day of providing two meals to those in the community who need it most.
Under the leadership of the executive director, Lou Sartor, several people said the soup kitchen has improved the lives of hundreds of people in the area.
Tina Everette, also known by many as ‘Big Tina’, said Sartor and volunteers at the soup kitchen saved her life. Everette said she was homeless and used to sleep at the church at the kitchen’s old location near Wofford College.
She said the soup kitchen provides her with food and other resources she needs to survive.
“She saved my life. She’s saved and fed a lot of people over the years and over the years she has saved me,” Everette said, “If people come here they’re not turning anybody away and everybody’s welcome— they do not judge you. They walk with you in faith here.”
Staff at the Spartanburg Soup Kitchen believe feeding a hungry person is the first step in addressing their needs. During the month of August, volunteers handed out more than 3,000 meals.
The soup kitchen serves meals seven days every week and said they’re adjusting to meet the needs of people who come in for help— and even deliver food to those who cant come into the kitchen.
“We operate 7 days a week our philosophy has always been ‘You cannot feed people 5 days and not expect them to be hungry the other two days’,” Sartor said.
In addition to food, the soup kitchen offers helpful programs and ministries, winter necessities, gas cards and other items people may need.
In 2020, during the winter months and amid a COVID-19 spike, people were not allowed to eat inside of the soup kitchen. Volunteers would serve people their food in to-go plates and they’d find a place to eat outdoors.
But since then Sartor said they’ve recently received a $25,000 dollar grant and staff used a portion to install plexiglass to allow people to eat indoors and socialize again — all while keeping them protected from COVID-19.
Sartor and regular diners at the soup kitchen told us things aren’t always perfect but volunteers and staff have changed the lives of so many people in Spartanburg.
“Have we gone through some trials and tribulations and storms? Absolutely. But the end result is that we have been here now for for nine years in our own facility, where we can really do what we want to do to change people’s lives,” Sartor said.
Sartor said the Spartanburg Soup Kitchen is always dedicated to helping out but they need donations from the community to keep it going. She said they are in need of everyday kitchen items such as carry out plates and aluminum foil.
If you’d like to volunteer or donate to the Spartanburg Soup Kitchen, click here.