Every Monday for the past three years, Linda Thomas has started the set up process for a soup kitchen that serves the Ambridge area.
Aida Dugan, board member and volunteer, along with friends, started The Ladle organization about 10 years ago. Dugan said originally the Ladle was to be a men's shelter, but founder Pam Rich and others were not met with a lot of encouragement. They decided to scale down the vision and focus on the need of feeding people.
Dugan said the motto is "feeding the bodies and souls of the hungry."
"That does not necessarily mean those who come with a empty belly," Dugan said. It could be people who are disconnected from society and feel there is no place to go."
"We offer that feeling of community, that sense of belonging. We do it by way of offering a meal."
The Ladle has 17 rotating groups that provide the weekly meals. Dugan said that they are Christian-based. The doors are open to all to help and mostly driven by people who want to make a difference in the world.
"There's no means test here. We feel that people are in need at different times in their lives," said Norah Miller, board member and volunteer.
"We have a lot of people who are working here that just barely are able to make ends meet. If they have a sick day, the paycheck is diminished. So we do not ever ask people their income or anything like that."
The Ladle also operates a small food pantry that Kent Schwarz, board member and volunteer, maintains. They are currently in need of canned foods, noodles, tea bags, coffee, jams and jellies, peanut butter, spaghetti sauce, instant mashed potatoes, rice, crackers, baby formula and other non-perishables. Schwarz shared that people need other items that are not food.
On TheLadle.org donors can find items of need including consumables and personal hygiene products such as paper towels, toilet paper, shampoo, deodorant, shaving cream and bath soap.
"A lot of the folks that come here, they need the actual nourishment of the meal, but more than that they need the nourishment of the companionship, the conversation, and the social interaction from the family that they get here that they may not be able to find at home or somewhere else in the community," Thomas said.
Beaver County December 25th Meals:
- The Ladle in Ambridge will serve Christmas Day dinner from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
- Also, the 21st annual free Christmas Day dinner in Beaver Falls will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Beaver Falls High School, 1701 Eighth Ave. Hosted by Christian Assembly Care Outreach Ministry.
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