It started as an idea and a way to address what Sandra Nijjar saw as a growing problem in East Boston. Nijjar was seeing an ever increasing number of homeless in and around Maverick and Central squares. So three years ago, Nijjar recruited Pastor Britta Carlson, John Ribeiro, Jr., Lydia Edwards and Baljinder Nijjar to establish the neighborhood’s first-ever soup kitchen.
Now, the East Boston Community Soup Kitchen in the basement of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church on Paris Street is going strong and feeding over hundreds of people a week that are both homeless or just in need of a hot meal.
To celebrate its third anniversary, the Soup Kitchen is hosting a party and fundraiser at Zumix on Thursday, October 17 at Zumix at 6 p.m.
“The East Boston Community Soup Kitchen is celebrating its third year of service to neighbors struggling with hunger, homelessness, and hardship,” said Nijjar. “With thanks to generous sponsor the HYM Investment Group, we invite supporters to join us on Thursday, Oct. 17, at 6 p.m. at the ZUMIX Firehouse to give thanks — and to commit to a more sustainable future for this critical initiative. We’re excited to be joined by honorary co-chairs Councilor Lydia Edwards and Representative Adrian Madaro, who recognize the meaningful role of the soup kitchen during a time of significant transition for the neighborhood.”
Since establishing the Soup Kitchen, dozens of Eastie residents have volunteered each Tuesday at the church to provide both lunch and dinner to the neighborhood’s most vulnerable residents.
With local support from area restaurants and businesses, the Soup Kitchen has also received weekly donations from dozens of local restaurants as well as national chains.
Nijjar said the group’s long term goal is to be able to provide a fresh hot meal at least twice a day, and to provide some clean clothing, a space to shower, and a place to sleep, especially during the cold winters.
“When a community comes together it can do great things and this is just one example,” said Rep. Adrian Madaro. “A lot of times in East Boston we don’t need outside help to solve a problem because our residents pull together, consolidate resources and find a solution themselves.”