HELPING SOMEONE down on their luck is an Ohio Valley hallmark. Lending assistance to the less fortunate takes shape in many different forms locally.
It is a trait we are quite proud of.
One of those goodwill organizations is ready to celebrate a noteworthy anniversary. The Living Bread Kitchen, located in the basement of The United Methodist Church in Bellaire, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month.
Charitable work is one thing. Doing it for 20 years is something worth praising. And so we do. The volunteers at the Living Bread Kitchen are in line for heartfelt praise for two decades of selfless service,
Lillian Hepburn is co-founder and now director of The Living Bread Kitchen. She expected short shelf life for the undertaking, six months to be exact.
Well six months has morphed into 20 years. It started as a small-time operation and has mushroomed into a massive venture. Some 60 clients were fed each week at the kitchen's onset. That number has spiked to nearly 500 meals a month.
That is bittersweet to say the least.
If one soup kitchen in Bellaire is feeding that many people, how many individuals are needing assistance throughout the Ohio Valley? That is a sobering statistic. It is reassuring, however, that the Living Bread Kitchen is able to accommodate so many people.
The kitchen is a labor of love for the staff. Volunteers are not just from The United Methodist Church but come from surrounding towns like Bridgeport, Martins Ferry and Moundsville. Many of the women that volunteer come from the Retired Seniors Volunteer Program.
The clients receive a quality meal -- an entree, a potato, salad, bread and a dessert -- and, just as importantly, they are exposed to much-needed fellowship that occurs among many of those who frequent the dining area.
The soup kitchen is open to anyone, no questions asked. We embrace what Living Bread Kitchen co-founder Carol Beveridge says, "It's a blessing, they're a blessing to us."
To everyone involved in the soup kitchen, we thank you for making a difference.