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Fairbanks soup kitchen gears up for winter

Published: Nov. 1, 2021 at 5:46 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Stone Soup Cafe serves hot meals and sack lunches near downtown Fairbanks five days a week.

According to Executive Director Hannah Hill, “When people are moving through their world, they may not see the folks that we serve, but it doesn’t mean that they’ve gone away. It doesn’t mean that we don’t have a problem in this community with people having enough resources just to live.”

Hill said the soup kitchen used to see a decline in need for their services during the winter. “Usually people will go home if they can, if they came here from out of Fairbanks.”

But since the pandemic began, “It’s been very, very steady. We have not seen any substantial change in our numbers.”

And on top of that, last week presented another challenge. “Somebody had thrown a rock through the window, a big, a whole handful of rock, through the window, made it through three panes of window into the office, just glass everywhere,” Hill said.

Luckily, no one was hurt, and the community stepped up to help. According to Hill, “A friend in Anchorage set up a GoFundMe for us, and we met our insurance deductible in 20 minutes, and then they kept it up for 24 hours in total, with the remainder of the money that anybody felt like donating going straight to us purchasing food.”

For Hill, it’s important to highlight the good in the community, rather than the negatives. “When one person threw a rock through our window, which impacted a lot of people, that day we served a hundred people who did not throw a rock through our window, and then on top of that, the community came to our aid without any kind of question.”

As winter continues to ramp up, Hill says the Stone Soup Cafe is always in need of volunteers. Those looking to help can also donate money and food, “specifically shelf-stable snacks, because 500 sack lunches a week is a lot of chips. Things like granola bars, home-baked cookies, little applesauce cups, anything like that is wonderful.”

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