• July 30, 2014

Soup kitchen strives to be self-sustaining

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Posted: Friday, October 11, 2013 4:30 am | Updated: 11:56 am, Wed Jul 16, 2014.

Small food donations keep the doors open for Cove’s local soup kitchen. But the charity is doing its part to create a regular food source.

On Saturday, eight Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful volunteers placed three wooden garden beds so the soup kitchen can grow its own food.

Soup kitchen founder Rachella Leggett proposed the idea to KCCB, which agreed to take on the project.

“This was a small, easy project for us to take on, and we hope that it will be very useful to the soup kitchen,” said KCCB Executive Director Silvia Rhoads. “We are grateful for the donations of materials and volunteer time on this project.”

The garden beds are different sizes and were filled with 2 cubic feet of compost donated by the city. The wood and plastic coverings to keep the soil free from germination until spring were also donated by KCCB members.

The project had no cost.

The soup kitchen, which receives no government funding, relies on community support such as the creation of the planting beds

Recently, a donation of meat valued at $800 was given to the charity. Small donations of canned goods are received on occasion. But it is the personal contributions of Leggett and Tonia Alston, two Army veterans who founded the soup kitchen, that keep it running.

The soup kitchen feeds an average of 20 to 30 people a day and often as many as 40. Leggett and Alston work about 40 hours a weeks to maintain operations.

KCCB will ensure the beds stay covered until volunteers help plant the vegetables in February.

“We will plant various kinds of vegetables based on what the kitchen will use cooking. Broccoli, green beans, tomatoes, lettuce, various greens, and lots of herbs will be planted,” said Jackie Baker, a KCCB volunteer. “This is a cost-saving measure. But it is also an education measure teaching how to can vegetables when the growing season ends and how to dry herbs so that the kitchen has fresh seasonings year-round.”

The garden will benefit the kitchen in more ways than one, Leggett said.

“Growing our own vegetables helps us to be healthier financially and physically,” she said. “We also get the community more involved in what we do and we are more involved with the community.”

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