New London soup kitchen may be forced to close

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

NEW LONDON - For 30 years, the New London Community Meal Center has been counted on by the community.

"We get a lot of people saying 'thank you for the meal' and 'glad you're here,'" said Peta Madry, the kitchen manager.

However, if an influx of cash doesn't come in soon, it will close within three months, which is bad in many ways according to those who benefit most.

"Not just the people who come here to eat, but the people who come here to serve," said Troy Patterson. "You know, they get a lot out of it too."

He’s says he can tell by the looks on the volunteers faces.

"We have more going out then we have coming in, almost every month," says Dot Shanahan, the soup kitchen’s treasurer.

This dire situation started to snow ball last year when the facility, which serves an average of 7,000 meals per month, incurred huge, unexpected expenses.

"We spent around $20,000 on freezers and refrigerators," Shanahan said.

Up to 400 meals a day are served, and one would assume food would be the biggest expense, but it’s largely keeping the physical plant operational--including $3,000 per month in electric bills. The overall monthly expenses are exorbitant.

"Anywhere from $15,000 to $18,000 a month," cringes Shanahan.

Much of the grant money they apply for annually comes in around the end of June, but, she adds, "That only totaled about $52,000 last fiscal year. Our operating budget was about $194,000."

Dince The Day newspaper first published the kitchen's dire need three days ago, "My email has blown up from PayPal because we've gotten over $8,000 worth of donations," said an appreciative Shanahan.

And they may soon receive an unexpected donation from a man who eats in the New London Community Meal Center once a week. Not because he needs to either. He says he simply enjoys hearing people’s stories.

"I will be very privileged to help support this place," said Canio Toglia, of Fisher's Island.

"The hospitality you get here is awesome," said Patterson. "Everyone here seems to really care about you. And the foods pretty slammin' too!"

To donate click here.