Soup Kitchen

St. Vincent de Paul's Open Hand Kitchen serves lunch and dinner to those in need 365 days a year. (WDRB Photo)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Inside what used to be a church, St. Vincent de Paul's Open Hand Kitchen has been feeding hungry souls and stomachs for years.

They're open for lunch and dinner 365 days a year, and it's all free to shelter clients and others experiencing hard times.

"We also have over 440 households every month at our food pantry, which is completely operated by volunteers," said Angela Champion Sprowl, the director of development for St. Vincent de Paul Louisville. 

Her soup kitchen serves 12,000 individual meals a month, but soon, those numbers could grow during what, so far, has seemed like a government shutdown stalemate in Washington.

"We don't really have any special plans in place, but there is an awareness that there could be people here who have never sought direct assistance before," she said.

Locally, hundreds of workers have been furloughed during the fight for border security. National Park rangers, USDA staffers, Census Bureau workers and others are all affected and all don't know when they'll get paid again. Some of them live paycheck-to-paycheck.

"This place is not about color, income, social status or where you live," Sprowl said. "It's just about you're here to eat, and there's no questions asked."

Her soup kitchen, along with others, is ready to make the stress of those workers a little lighter and their wallets a little heavier.

"Spare cash that they have, if they have any, that is going to vital things like medicine or making sure that their heat isn't cut off," she said.

But as the shutdown lingers, there's a bit of concern at St. Vincent de Paul too. Right now, food stamp benefits are funded through February, but March is still up in the air.

"We hope that the government shutdown is solved before that point," Sprowl said.

The Metro United Way also had a message to furloughed Louisville-area workers. It wants any of them who need help to call 211, a 24-hour free hotline that offers all kinds of assistance. Alternatively, those interested in those services can click here.

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