via Rumbo Newspaper
Sit, eat, have a cup of coffee and connect now gone in favor of the safer “Grab & Go” as the Lazarus House Soup kitchen in Lawrence adapts to continue serve the dozens of hungry and impoverished Guests who rely on it for meals. “We need to stay open (during the pandemic) to provide for the people who most need it,” said Miguel Cruz, Director of Community Services. “It’s not only homeless people who come to the Soup Kitchen, it’s people who live in rooming houses, people who have lost jobs, people who don’t have the money to buy food and cook for themselves because they can barely meet rent payments.” In this “new world,” those served by the soup kitchen must stay outside and socially distance as they await individual meal bags. While it is vital nourishment, what may be missing for some is the nourishment of the soul that comes from one-on-one interactions with the staff, and each other. “Guests have a lot of anxiety,” said Cruz. “This is where they go to feel safe, welcome, and to socialize. All of that has been taken away from them.” For many, the Soup Kitchen is the only place they feel comfortable, safe, like they belong. Besides the basic need of food, there is often another. “A gentleman came by and said, ‘I have no running water, I need some supplies to keep myself clean,’” said Cruz. “We provided personal care items so that he could wash up and stay sanitary.” While the staff takes precautions – masks, gloves, hand sanitizer – they work in close quarters in a small kitchen. All know that they are one infection away from possibly having to shut down.