1981 The Nashua Soup Kitchen was begun by a small group of concerned women and men who noticed there were hungry people in Nashua. The soup kitchen was only open a few hours, three days a week, serving simply soup and sandwiches. All support came from private donations.
1984 The Nashua Area Shelter for the Homeless was founded. The first shelter was on Temple Street and had only eight beds. In 1986 the Shelter Committee purchased the building on Ash Street which is currently in use and has 20 beds.
1989 Lisa Christie was hired as the Nashua Soup Kitchen’s first executive director. Six weeks later the soup kitchen merged with the Nashua Area Shelter for the Homeless, and the NSK&S was created.
1991 NSK&S celebrates 10 years of serving the community.
1993 The NSK&S receives the Walter J. Dunfey Award for Excellence in Management. This competitive award is given by The Corporate Fund of the NH Charitable Foundation to non-profits in the state exemplifying leadership and good management.
The soup kitchen began serving breakfast this year after we realized that only one school in Nashua had a breakfast program and that many families with children who ate dinner here sent the kids to school without breakfast
1994 The NSK&S purchased the property on Kinsley and Chestnut Street. This fulfilled a long held dream of a separate shelter for women and families with children. (Unfortunately the later increase in homeless families has meant we also still have women and families at Ash Street.) We also opened our three units of transitional housing to allow homeless families a longer period to transition back into the mainstream.
The Employment Advocacy Program also began in this year and highlights our focus on helping people help themselves.
1996 NSK&S celebrates 15 years of community support.
1997 Employment Advocacy Program adds HUD funding to assist homeless persons in gong back to school and with resolving barriers to employment.
2001 Agency board and staff commit to ending homelessness and spearheading efforts in the community to develop a plan to end homelessness. 20th anniversary.
2002 The NSK&S receives the Walter J. Dunfey Award for Excellence in Management for the second time.
2004 “A Home for Everyone: A 10 Year Plan for Ending Homelessness in Greater Nashua” is written and adopted by the community. NSK&S board member wrote the draft for the plan.
NSK&S purchases a nine unit building to create permanent affordable housing.
2006 25th Anniversary Year
We were voted as July, August & September 2006 Champions in Action - HUNGER by Citizens Bank and WMUR.
2007 We exceeded serving 200 meals in one evening for dinner in the soup kitchen for the first time.
Through our Backpacks for Back to School program, we distributed more than 1,600 backpacks filled with school supplies to children in need.
Our annual dinner auctions was the most successful fundraiser to date, raising $122,000.
2008 Started distributing a dozen eggs with each emergency food bag request and a gallon of milk for families with children.
15th Anniversary of our 5K Run for Food & Shelter. Inauguration of our 10K race. Our 5K and 10K are designated NH State championships for RRCA.
We are visited by about 100 families a day for fresh produce and bread.
Ended the year with an amazing challenge from a very special donor who said they would match every dollar we raised up to $500,000. We exceeded the match and received the entire $500,000 from our generous donor.
In December we added chicken to all of our weekly food bags.
2009 Our focus is on helping people eat healthier and in providing more nutritious foods to folks who come the Nashua Soup Kitchen. We have increased the amount of meat, fresh produce, milk & eggs we give out. In response to the recession and increasing numbers of families needing help, our food baskets have more food. We are giving out about 30% more food baskets than last year.
We purchased the first truck the agency has ever owned to allow us to pick up more food from the NH Food Bank, USDA, and local restaurants.
Our fundraiser "Run for Food and Shelter" is the first road race in New Hampshire to be designated "green" by the Council for Responsible Sport. We are a certified Silver event.
2010 In May of 2010, during the ongoing recession, we had more people eating in the soup kitchen than we ever have before. We served 1,705 breakfasts and 4,265 dinners. That is almost 6,000 meals in one month!
In August, we broke all records for meals served in one month. We served 1,755 breakfasts and 4,384 dinners. That was a total of 6,139 meals served!
Through our Back to School program, we distributed 1,958 brand new backpacks filled with school supplies. The Nashua Board of Education and the Superintendent of Schools recognized our program at their monthly meeting for outstanding accomplishment and outstanding leadership.
2011 We welcome our 30th anniversary!
In April, we held our 18th annual Run for Food and Shelter at a new location---the Muldoon Fitness Center at Rivier College. And we are recertified Silver as a "Green Race".
In August, we successfully distributed 2,280 brand new, (filled with new supplies) backpacks to children in grades K - 12. The Greater Nashua Boys & Girls Club hosted us for this event.
On August 29, we served 283 unduplicated meals at one dinner, the most we have ever served in one evening. Of those meals, 27 were children.
In September, we welcomed Kyle Fields as our new Kitchen Manager/Food Rescue Coordinator.
2012 We designate the first hour of dinnertime for “families” to better serve the increasing numbers of families with children coming to eat at the soup kitchen.
We find a new property to move the soup kitchen, food pantry and programmatic space to larger quarters which will allow us to serve people more efficiently and with greater dignity. After many months and thousands of dollars spent, the Nashua Planning Board denies our application. The VFW hears about this and calls to tell us they need to downsize while we need to upsize. A better building has been found. We start over.
We begin our capital campaign with Lori Lambert and G. Frank Teas as our co- chairs. We raise over a quarter of a million dollars by year end.
We collaborate with Greater Nashua Mental Health (Community Council) on a small permanent housing program for chronically homeless adults. A week before the holidays two of our shelter guests move into their own apartments. 2013
We celebrate 32 years of serving those most in need in our community.
In August, we successfully distributed 2,318 brand new, (filled with new supplies) backpacks to children in grades K - 12.
By December, we successfully meet our capital campaign goal of
$2 Million. Planning for renovations and the move continues.
Renovations begin in March at 2 Quincy Street.
A national foundation gives us a
challenge grant of $100,000 for last dollars raised so fundraising continues
for rest of the project.
Target date for move is early September.