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Spartanburg Soup Kitchen offering only takeout meals during coronavirus outbreak
Herald-Journal - 3/14/2020
Mar. 14--The Spartanburg Soup Kitchen has made a change in the way it serves guests during the coronavirus outbreak.
On Saturday, the kitchen began serving only takeout meals instead of allowing guests to eat inside the facility at 136 S. Forest St.
"We are going to do this until the crisis is over with," said Lou Sartor, Spartanburg Soup Kitchen executive director. "The kitchen will have take out only, but guests will still be able to get fruits and vegetables that come from the stores."
Guests are required to use hand sanitizer before receiving a meal. The hand sanitizing station is located outside, near the area where meals are served.
"We are going to have a larger expense to keep the carry-out plates here," Sartor said. "It costs more to use the carry-out plates and keep them stocked."
Sartor anticipates the number of guests at the kitchen will increase during the crisis. She encouraged everyone to wash their hands and stay safe.
"Washing your hands is the key in living," Sartor said. "People should being doing that all along, but hopefully more people will become aware and keep washing their hands when this crisis is over."
Spencer Leach of Spartanburg said the coronavirus outbreak wouldn't keep him away from the kitchen. He was among more than 150 guests who picked up a meal on Saturday afternoon.
Volunteers serving at the kitchen said guests were understanding of the change.
"Everyone has been receptive," said volunteer Ruth Free of Holden Chapel Missionary Baptist Church.
Several volunteers said they would prefer to allow the guests to eat inside, but understood why the change was necessary. Takeout meals will continue to be served at the kitchen indefinitely.
"They (guests) don't really seem to by bothered by it," said volunteer Gladys Skinner of Cornerstone Baptist Church. "The line still moves fast and keeps moving."
More than 250 takeout meals were prepared on Saturday. The kitchen continues to receive food donations with no shortages. Someone dropped off 15 homemade chocolate pies for the volunteers to serve guests.
"It's been a trying time for everyone right now," said Free. "Any food donations people can provide will help."
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