A soup kitchen that has consistently helped feed more than 100 residents from Roosevelt and vicinity on Saturdays has found two new locations to move into after being in danger of becoming homeless.
Faith Mission Inc., an all-volunteer nonprofit organization, had been providing hot meals, clothing and food in Freeport and Roosevelt for the past 13 years. But on Monday -- after the original April 30 deadline was extended -- Faith Mission was forced to move for a second time, because First United Methodist Church in Roosevelt -- which housed the soup kitchen for seven months -- could no longer host the group due to financial difficulties.
Rising costs had also forced the soup kitchen, which operated out of a Freeport church for 12 years, to move to First United.
Mary Joesten, the group's director, said in March that she was desperately looking for a location in Nassau County as their eviction deadline approached. Subsequently, she received two offers to host Faith Mission -- from the Salvation Army in Hempstead Village and the Roosevelt Youth Center in Roosevelt. The group started moving into both locations Monday and hopes to open the first week of June, she said.
"Because of your article, we are able to relocate our soup kitchen and start a brand new pantry," said Joesten, 75, a retired insurance broker from Oceanside. "I also gained 20 more volunteers."
Maj. Philip Wittenberg, who is in charge of the Salvation Army in Hempstead, said officials will allow Faith Mission to run its soup kitchen every Saturday to continue providing breakfast and lunch. They are waiting for approval from the Nassau County Health Department to operate, he said.
"We liked their work," Wittenberg said. "They gave out good quality food and everyone was treated with dignity."
The Rev. Arthur L. Mackey Jr., owner of the Roosevelt Youth Center and pastor of the historic Mount Sinai Baptist Church Cathedral in Roosevelt, said he welcomed Faith Mission. The center will serve as a food pantry three days a week, then eventually as a soup kitchen, too.
"Considering the economy right now, there is a great need for a food pantry," Mackey said. "This is going to be a major asset to the Nassau County area."
Kevin Seck, a member of the Entrepreneur's Group, made up of 12 business owners from Long Island, said they would cover all costs associated with the Hempstead property. His group will also assist with the extension of the kitchen in Roosevelt, he said.
"You hate to see a soup kitchen just die," Seck said. "This lady Mary is like a saint. How can you not give to someone who is constantly giving?"
Two new sites
Faith Mission Inc.'s soup kitchen opens its doors again in Salvation Army's Corps Community Center, 65 Atlantic Ave., in Hempstead
The center will allow Faith Mission to run its soup kitchen on Saturdays:
The Roosevelt Youth Center, 55 Mansfield Ave., in Roosevelt. The center will serve as a food pantry, then ultimately as a soup kitchen.