BATH

The Bath Area Food Bank is seeking a new manager and site for its soup kitchen after it closed its doors at the First Baptist Church five weeks ago.

Judy Wiseman, chairwoman of the Food Bank board, said Wednesday there is no time frame for re-opening the soup kitchen, which fed as many as 30 people a day.

Wiseman said the food pantry at the Neighborhood Faith Community, United Church of Christ, 150 Congress Ave., is providing the hungry two boxes a month instead of one during the soup kitchen shutdown. The pantry is open twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays.

“Right now we’re looking for a new location for the soup kitchen, and a new manager,” Wiseman said. “We have a couple of options on the location.”

Pastor Steve Rowe has said that the Baptist church remains available, but at least one board member wants to consolidate soup kitchen and the food pantry under one roof.

Aid to the hungry is still available, thanks to many volunteers and 12 local churches involved with the Food Bank. The Unitarian Universalist Church feeds people at its Neighborhood Cafe on Tuesday nights, and Grace Episcopal Church hosts meals every Thursday.

The soup kitchen itself closed following the resignation of its manager.

Kimberly Gates, a Food Bank board member from Grace Episcopal, said the manager’s position demands 40 to 50 hours a week during harvest time in the summer — when Edgewater Farm of Phippsburg provides a great amount of fresh produce — and up to 30 hours weekly during the winter.

“And it’s not a paid position,” Gates said.

“We’re putting together a job description for a new manager,” she said. “It took over a week to put it together. It was two pages.”

In the past, the Bath Area Food Bank has provided a clothing exchange at Corliss Street Baptist Church. The clothing exchange closed two years ago.

“It would be so beneficial to have everything under one roof,” Gates said. “We could manage it better.”

The soup kitchen had been open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11 a.m. to noon. Wiseman said 25 to 30 people were showing up on a typical day, but many people who work, as well as children, were missing out.

One idea, she said, is to change the soup kitchen to evening operation.

The Food Bank board met this past Monday night. Questions arose as to when the soup kitchen might re-open, Wiseman said.

“We rushed it the last time it closed,” she said. “We’re brainstorming. We want to keep it in a positive light. We have so many people who have donated to us.”

The Food Bank also needs a treasurer — a skilled volunteer with a knowledge of finances, Wiseman said.

“In the past,” she said, “we have always looked to the churches. We’re getting older in our churches. We still have that vision out there. We want to reach out into the community also. The board is going through a transition.”

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