History of the
Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter

Then and Now


The Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter (NSKS) is dedicated to providing shelter and food to those in need.
The overall objective of the agency is to advocate, create, and operate programs and services that
promote dignity and self-sufficiency for those we serve. To ensure that basic needs are addressed,
the NSKS is committed to joining with others in a community-wide ethic of caring.

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.

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.

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.

NSK&S celebrates 10 years of serving the community.

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

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.

NSK&S celebrates 15 years of community support.

Employment Advocacy Program adds HUD funding to assist homeless persons in gong back to school and with resolving barriers to employment.

Agency board and staff commit to ending homelessness and spearheading efforts in the community to develop a plan to end homelessness. 20thanniversary.

The NSK&S receives the Walter J. Dunfey Award for Excellence in Management for the second time.

“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.

25th Anniversary Year

We were voted as July, August & September 2006 Champions in Action - HUNGER by Citizens Bank and WMUR.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Business offices and food pantry move into new location week of September 16th.

First meal served at new location (dinner) by Board members and staff September 22.

First full day of services at 2 Quincy Street September 23.

Showers and laundry facilities for homeless persons without access to these basic needs opens in our new building.

Urban Garden Project on our outside space begins. Volunteers build the raised beds. Produce & herbs grown for use in the soup kitchen and food pantry.

We turned over the keys to our old soup kitchen building on Chestnut St to Greater Nashua Habitat for Humanity. Our mission will continue there when they demolish it and build affordable owner occupied housing for two low income families.

Purchased our new 20 foot refrigerated box truck with money raised through our Fund A Need event at our annual dinner auction. We received the truck the last week in December and use it for food rescue at local businesses Monday - Friday.

Lisa Christie, the agency’s first executive director, retires after 27 and a half years. We welcome Michael Reinke as the new executive director.

Nashua Meals for Kids kicked off in June after school recessed for the summer.  NSKS started delivering twice a week, 6 cooked, frozen dinners to children in the Dr. Crisp Elementary school area who were eligible for free lunch.


2018 Febuary 
Nashua soup Kitchen & Shelter becomes the first solar-powered nonprofit in Nashua Thanks to ReVision Energy. The solar system is expected to save roughly $176,282 over the life of the system and produce approximately 43,080 kilowatt-hours of clean electricity per year. This reduces more than 45,000 pounds of carbon pollution annually.

2018 October
In partnership with Saint Patrick's Parish, NSKS announces its plans to convert the former Spring Street Sacred Heart School into emergency shelter by the year 2021.

The NSKS serves the Greater Nashua area. Community support is critical to the NSKS. Over 80% of the funds for operating programs for those in need come from private contributions. We are grateful for your support.
To donate, please click the icon below.
The Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter Inc.
is a 501(c)(3) private, tax deductible non-profit agency.