Sheriff’s office/Tryon Fire to hold first soup kitchen Jan. 21

Published 4:48 pm Tuesday, January 17, 2012

With more and more families finding themselves in need of financial and food assistance, the Tryon Fire Department and Polk County Sheriff’s Office is organizing soup kitchens to help feed the community and to raise money for future soup kitchens.

The first soup kitchen will be held on Saturday, Jan. 21 at the Tryon Fire Department. Soups will be made by sheriff’s office employees and given away to anyone who needs it. Donations for the sheriff’s office’s needy fund are also welcome from those who can afford.

“We’ve seen a need – especially this year – for assistance with food purchases,” said Kim Pack, administrative assistant at the sheriff’s office and captain with Tryon Fire Department. “We wanted to provide those in need with a hearty meal – and the opportunity to take home some soup for future meals. We are very fortunate that containers for the take-home soup have been donated by Charles Weinhagen, territory manager with U.S. Foods.”

Pack said this year the fire department and sheriff’s office has seen an even greater need in the community, with some people having to not pay a power bill in order to purchase food. She said she’s received several calls from elderly people who are concerned about a possible increase in Duke Power bills this year and their inability to pay any more.

Pack said she’s always wanted to provide a soup kitchen for this community, saying that if people can get a few free meals here and there, maybe they can put other money towards utility bills.

Thermal Belt Outreach Ministry, a Polk County nonprofit that helps people pay utility bills and provides food for those in need, also continues to see an increase in need.

The goal of the Jan. 21 soup kitchen is to raise enough money to provide a true meal for the community in March, Pack said.

The second soup kitchen is planned for Feb. 11 and will be much larger. It will also be held at the Tryon Fire Department. Local chefs are being invited to cook soups to give away to those in need. They will bring gallons of their own favorite soups to the soup kitchen and will participate in a taste test competition. The Feb. 11 soup kitchen will also give away soup to anyone who needs it, as well as take donations. Leftover soup will be frozen and given away to those in need throughout the coming months.

“While [the Jan. 21 soup kitchen] is only a few hours, next month’s looks to be a really great event,” Pack said. “We really hope people help spread the word about the February 11 event.”

Any restaurant or local chef who would like to participate in the Feb. 11 soup kitchen is encouraged to call Pack at 828-894-3001.