The Saugerties community has gained a space for the hungry to gather. Headed by Pastor Jose Perez and his family, the First Baptist Church, 32 Partition Street, is operating a soup kitchen every Tuesday evening, and is open to anyone in need of food or drink.
The Shining Light Soup Kitchen began serving the community in November of 2015. According to Perez, the idea for the soup kitchen stemmed from his concern for the Saugerties youth. “Many are without families and are in very hard situations,” he said. The kitchen, however, is open to kids and adults alike, and is staffed by volunteers from the First Baptist Church. Nick Lopez, a friend of Perez and the owner of Saugerties’s Barclay Heights Diner, has agreed to provide soup for the kitchen.
According to Perez’s daughter Gabriela, “The church’s youth group plays a really big part because we go out and invite people.” Perez added, “We have visited at least three hundred homes around here and given them pamphlets about the soup kitchen.”
Perez also has plans to expand the services offered by the kitchen. Because of the cold weather, he suspects that many people who would like to utilize the space have a hard time finding transportation to and from the church. “We bought a van with the idea of bringing more people to the soup kitchen,” he said. Additionally, he intends to boost the kitchen’s operation from one to three days a week by the beginning of May.
Perez concluded, “We are [here] for the community. We don’t want to put a title on anyone who comes here. We accept any kind of person — we just want to feed people.”
The Shining Light Soup Kitchen is located in the downstairs of the First Baptist Church at 32 Partition Street. Hours of operation are every Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. For more information, contact the First Baptist Church at 845-246-9211.