Thanks to thousands of incredible volunteers who join us at three Preble Street Soup Kitchens, we served 630,000 meals to our neighbors in need over the last year! In 47,389 volunteer hours, those helping hands:
Chopped 36,400 potatoes
Diced 18,200 onions
Boiled 3,640 gallons of water for pasta and rice
Fried 44,925 eggs
Grilled 50,000 pancakes
Sliced 40,000 loaves of bread
Washed 980,000 pieces of silverware
And everyone got fed.
New and existing volunteers can sign up for shifts right online!
Homelessness is traumatic, and the people we serve often experience uncertainty and distress. When Preble Street Volunteer of the Month Ruth is in the Florence House kitchen, she greets each guest with a smile and reassures everyone that they are in a safe, welcoming place.
She recently shared a story that reminds us of the power of showing up for people in need.
“After work, I stopped in a store and took out my re-useable shopping bag which has a Preble Street logo. The cashier noticed and asked, ‘Do you volunteer there?’
‘Yes, at Florence House,’ I replied.
She smiled and said, ‘I stayed there for a while. So, thank you.’
I am so glad to be part of the Preble Street volunteer force. We do make a difference.”
Ruth, you are so right. You do make a difference. Thank you for reminding us that the simple gift of being present can change a life.
We’re humbled by the incredible passion, kindness, and work ethic that volunteers bring to the Preble Street Teen Center Soup Kitchen!
People like Moe, the September Volunteer of the Month, do more than just fill bellies. They remind young people that there are adults who want the best for them and will show up for them.
For over three years, Moe has been volunteering weekly at the Teen Center, preparing and serving dinner for youth in Portland. She frequently helps train new volunteers, fills in for last minute needs, and often joins us for holidays.
Moe is vivacious, kind, and a ton of fun. Whether it’s extra frosting on a big piece of cake or a bit of cheese to sauce up the veggies, Moe knows just what youth need.
“She taught me how to tie a double knot to fix a client’s ripped backpack,” recalls a caseworker. Another chimed in, “Youth ask about her when she’s not here.”
Thank you, Moe — and all volunteers — for your generosity and all that you bring to Preble Street!
For many years, Preble Street has been helping to feed asylees seeking shelter in Portland. While the Expo location is now closed, we are continuing to work together with volunteers to make meals for our new neighbors. As always, we are closely monitoring the situation and will make every effort to support those in need in our community.
This month, we are excited to highlight a volunteer who loves to dig in and get her hands dirty. The July Volunteer of the Month, Virginia Eddy, is in her happy place when she is elbows-deep in dishes.
Every shift she works, she settles in at the dish pit, gives a big joyful sigh of contentment, and says: “I can’t think of a place I would rather be right now. I really mean it!” And she does.
Virginia is a master of strategy, an essential part of keeping up with dishes in a busy kitchen, and does it all while greeting every client and caseworker with kindness as they hand over their plate, eager to hear about their day and their meal.
One of her best qualities is her ability to greet even the toughest situations with an unflappable get-it-done mentality. Florence House Kitchen Operating Assistant Philippa remembers a day when “Virginia showed up early, a bright smile on her face, to find me, the floor, and the wall covered in tomato sauce. She held in her laughter, told me everything was going to be okay, and asked how she could help. She got the job done and we pulled together a great dinner.”
Virginia makes every meal even better by keeping things in top working order and filling the kitchen with a graceful ease. She embodies the Food Programs value that these kitchens are “welcoming places where all are treated with respect and empathy.”
Thank you, Virginia, for tackling the dirtiest dishes, the hardest days, and the difficult work of ending homelessness and food insecurity with your wonderfully positive spirit and pure, respectful warmth.
Preble Street serves 1,200 meals every day at three soup kitchens, and in addition we’re providing 600 extra meals daily to our new neighbors from around the world. Watch this video to learn more and see the work in action!
When a retiring weekend volunteer decided to pass the spatula along to the next generation, Emily Wasserman willingly took over.
Every weekend, Emily rises before the sun to serve a beautiful, nutritious breakfast at the Resource Center Soup Kitchen with love, patience, and the imagination of a “Chopped” champ.”
I wanted to become part of a community that is welcoming and cares about the issues of homelessness and food insecurity in Maine,” she says. “People deserve to be valued and taken care of, and I get to spend time with a bunch of genuine, kind, funny people. What could be better than that?”
Thank you, Emily, for all that you do to help our neighbors in need!
When Peter is in the kitchen, people are laughing, smiling, and in high spirits.
“Chef Peter” began volunteering at the Resource Center Soup Kitchen several years ago as a member of the St. Alban’s Episcopal Church of Cape Elizabeth, a dedicated monthly volunteer group. In addition, Peter volunteers several times a week on his own.
The unassuming leadership “he shows at all times is touching, and he makes people feel welcome and at ease,” remark kitchen staff. “He may have thought he was flying under the radar, just doing his part, but we have all noticed and appreciate him!”
Thank you, Peter, for your gracious approach to service, quiet leadership, and unfailingly positive attitude!
Preble Street is truly honored to be the recipient of a $13,534.01 Hunger Is grant from Shaw’s and Star Market Foundation! Shaw’s is a longtime supporter of hunger relief causes, and this year’s Hunger Is campaign was the most successful yet. In addition to raising money, Shaw’s donates food from its stores and distribution centers. This equates to millions of dollars in food and financial donations each year to help people who need it most.
Thanks to our Shaw’s partners and their many customers who donated to support our organization, children in our area will get a healthy breakfast each day. Hunger Is beatable!