ITHACA, N.Y.—The season of giving is upon us and everyone deserves to feel it, a sentiment that Loaves & Fishes believes. The local soup kitchen, housed by St. John’s Episcopal Church, has been working tirelessly since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to continue to provide fresh, warm meals to those in need.

To continue feeding residents safely, Executive Director Rev. Christina Culver said, the organization is serving to-go style meals five days a week with lunches served Monday, Wednesday and Friday and dinners served Tuesdays and Thursdays, all out of St. John’s church. Loaves & Fishes will be serving a holiday meal from noon to 1:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 24 and all are welcome. 

“We encourage our guests to take two meals-to-go for themselves if they would like, and to take meals for loved ones, friends or colleagues whom they know need our free meals but are unable to come pick them up,” Culver said. “For example, people may have difficulty picking up meals if they have young children or physical or transportation challenges, or have to isolate or quarantine due to exposures.”

Loaves & Fishes is run by volunteers and works with other organizations in the area that support individuals in need of housing or food. Last winter, Loaves & Fishes sponsored a community warming space within the Tompkins County Public Library to address the need for indoor spaces where people could go during the day to warm up while many businesses were shut down due to the pandemic.

This winter opening a community warming space at the TCPL was not an option, Culver explained, going on to say that the library had resumed use of the rooms it had generously allowed the organization to use during peak pandemic days.

“Loaves & Fishes has been an essential community resource for 38 years,” she said. “Open five days a week, and relying on volunteers, there has never been a break in service because simply put, our mission is to feed the hungry, no matter what.”

Zoë Freer-Hessler

Zoë Freer-Hessler is a general assignment reporter for the Ithaca Voice. She has covered a wide range of topics since joining the news organization in November 2021. She can be reached at zhessler@ithacavoice.com...