History Of Eva's Soup Kitchen
What's One of The Best Ways to Help the Hungry?
What’s one of the best ways to help the hungry, especially those who are homeless? Eva’s Village founder, Monsignor Vincent E. Puma, asked that question in 1982, and he, along with a small group of clergy, including a nun named Eva Hernandez, started a soup kitchen in the basement of
St. John’s Cathedral in Paterson New Jersey. Shortly after, sister Eva left for a new position but the name stuck and thus “Eva’s Kitchen” was born.
Eva’s Kitchen | Feeding the Hungry, Feeding the Poor
In 1982, the kitchen served 30 hungry, homeless and working poor. Today (after a major expansion in late 2011) “Eva’s Kitchen” feeds close to 400 hungry people (called “guests” of Eva’s Village) per day. While Eva’s “guests” are served a hot lunch, they are introduced to one or more of the 14 integrated programs Eva’s Village offers to the homeless and struggling. These programs include the "Hope Residence for Mothers and Children" (a family shelter), drug addiction treatment programs for men and women, and a free primary care medical and dental clinic.
How We Help the Hungry
- We believe that a person cannot begin to change his or her life if they are hungry, so we feed them.
- If they have no place to sleep, we shelter them.
- If they are in the grip of addiction, we show them the path to a clean, sober and productive life.
- If they are debilitated by disease, we treat their medical ailments.
How Do We Get Our food and/or Money Donations?
Marie Reger, Executive Director, notes that the Eva’s Village mission of feeding the hungry through our soup kitchen has never been determined by the rate of donations, but by the need.
It is important to try to make each program self sustaining and not dependent on unrestricted funding. Over the past several years as the economy has struggled, so has Eva’s Village, with some corporate and foundation funders reducing the size of their support or eliminating it all together.
But our dedicated staff has been very proactive in discovering new sources of funding,
one of which is a new charity corporate volunteer program called: “Bond, Boost, and Build”, reaching out to New Jersey corporations to educate them on the plight of the most unfortunate among us and to make it easier for employees and their employers to get involved in the mission of Eva’s Village.
- Eva's Village has grown from a simple soup kitchen to a 14 - program comprehensive anti-poverty organization to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, treat the addicted and provide medical and dental care to the poor.
- During 2011, a total of 139,769 hot lunches were served (23% increase from 2007).
- In 2011 we expanded the kitchen to meet the increased demand.
- Today we serve a hot lunch to the hungry and homeless, without turning anyone away, 365 days/year, serving 350-400 lunches/day.
- Additionally, clients living in our Shelters and Recovery Programs are served meals daily, making the total meals served by Eva's Kitchen more than 350,000 annually.
Eva's Kitchen Volunteers
Volunteers are an integral part of the running of our New Jersey Soup Kitchen. Our volunteers are both individuals, employees from local businesses (part of our charity corporate volunteer program), and members from local religious, civic and educational groups.
You can help feed the hungry and the poor. Over 11.5% New Jersey residents don't have enough to eat. Eva's Soup Kitchen serves a hot, balanced, nutritious lunch to 350 - 400 people 365 days a year. No one is turned away in our soup kitchen program. In addition to these lunches we serve lunch to participants in our outpatient program each day and breakfast, lunch and dinner to all of those staying in our recovery and sheltering programs. This amounts to more than 1,200 meals/day.