Local Soup Kitchen Relocates and Day Center's Expenses Increase

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COLUMBIA - For almost 20 years the Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen and the Interfaith Day Center worked out of the same 300 square foot building on the corner of Park Avenue and Seventh Street. Now, the soup kitchen relocated and will have its grand opening March 8th. So what does this mean for the day center? About $3,500 more per year in expenses, Steve Swope, the President of the Columbia Interfaith Resource Center, said Tuesday. 

The soup kitchen and the day center are two separate organizations, but sharing the same location allowed them to split expenses such as rent, insurance, and utilities.  The soup kitchen will now serve its nightly meals at Wilkes Boulevard United Methodist Church.  Different volunteer programs and churches alternate serving dinner at 5 p.m. every night of the week.  This new location is much bigger and allows room for more people in need of a meal.

Although the day center will now have more expenses, the move is positive, Swope said.  The day center also hopes to move to a bigger location in the future. "It gives the day center incentive to make changes in its own history," he said.  

The day center is open Monday-Friday and gives people a place to go, especially those who don't have anywhere. Dahne Yeager has been the director of the day center for 10 years.  He said the relocation of the soup kitchen will allow the day center to develop as its own entity.

The day center provides multiple services such as a lunch, a mailing address for those without a home, and a social environment during the day. Yeager also guides people to other resources such as housing availability, medical care, and job opportunities.  The day center operates mostly through donations. With these extra expenses, the day center will need to reach out and gain more support, Yeager said.