PORTLAND — When the pandemic hit, St. Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen in Portland, part of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception’s Guild Hall on 307 Congress Street, was providing about 140 hot lunches to people in need every day and serving over 60,000 people each year through its food pantry and clothing collection. Over the past two years, the organization has adjusted to continue offering assistance, for example, distributing “grab and go” lunch bags and setting up times for those in need to safely obtain healthy food and clothing from the pantry.

On Monday, June 6, St. Vincent de Paul volunteers will happily turn the page back to normal operations, offering hot lunches on Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in addition to having the food pantry open. Clothing and various sundries like books, gift bags for kids, and toiletries, will be provided on Fridays from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The food pantry will be stocked each day with canned goods, breads, desserts, breakfast items, produce, bottled water, milk, pasta, rice, cereal, peanut butter, frozen meats, prepared meals and salads, and more. All are welcome to come.

To continue the work of St. Vincent de Paul in the feeding, clothing, and healing of individuals and families in need, the volunteer-based organization quite literally needs more of them. Anyone who can help prepare, serve, or clean up any time between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays is asked to consider donating some of their time to the soup kitchen. Any amount of time would be greatly appreciated, be it for 30 minutes or five hours. If you have any questions or can volunteer, call Executive Director Jesse Senore at 207-939-3740, email jessesenore@gmail.com or svdpmaine@svdpmaine.org, or sign up at www.svdpme.org. Clothing and/or financial donations may be dropped off at the soup kitchen as well.

Established in 1972, St. Vincent de Paul is driven by a commitment to help anyone in need, free of charge. At the start of the pandemic, the soup kitchen was the recipient of nearly 13,000 volunteer hours per year. 

“I offer my sincere thanks and blessings to those who generously donate their time and support to this mission, compassionately showing those who come for assistance and sustenance that they are loved as God’s children,” said Bishop Robert Deeley. “The exercise of our religion as Catholics and Christians impels us to service. We are called to serve one another, particularly the poor, and to provide hope for those most in need.”