Early in 1984, Sherri McAuliffe saw hungry people around her in New Milford. She and Alma Roberson of the United Methodist Church conceived the idea for a soup kitchen and invited other churches and organizations to get involved. They were soon joined by Biddy Roger of Saint John’s Episcopal Church.
The three women met with members of other churches and service organizations and had a workable plan by May 1984. St John’s Episcopal Church offered them space.
Loaves & Fishes served its first meal on June 4, 1984.
Loaves & Fishes stayed at Saint John’s for six years. During this time the group was always actively seeking a home for the organization.
In 1990, the Town of New Milford agreed to allocate Loaves & Fishes space in the Richmond Citizen Center. Loaves & Fishes volunteers completely cleaned and renovated the space to bring up it to building and fire code and constructed a complete commercial kitchen at a cost of about $80,000 — donated in its entirety by individuals, churches, and charitable organizations. They moved to the Richmond Center in April 1990.
Loaves and Fishes Hospitality House operates as a 501(c)3 public charity with no paid personnel. We rely on donated funds, food, and supplies, and faithful volunteers who freely give of themselves to prepare and serve the daily meal and provide a bag lunch to go.
We never know how many guests will come for a meal (numbers range from fourteen to forty on a daily basis, and we have served as many as fifty-four at a single meal).
Loaves and Fishes receives no Federal or State monies toward our operating expenses.
Although much of our food is donated, we purchase many food items in significant quantities to supplement the donations.
Our regular overhead costs include phone, internet, trash and recycling disposal, appliance service, repair and replacement, insurance, light bulbs, cleaning supplies, stationery and stamps. These overhead costs are administered from an account separate from the food account.
We continue to be grateful to The Town of New Milford which provides the necessary space, water, sewer, heat and electricity.
Loaves & Fishes is a very special place - a neighborhood without the real estate - that takes care of its own. We come together for 1 hour a day for food, conversation, compassion, companionship and sometimes a pair of dry socks or a clean shirt.
While Loaves and Fishes currently operates as a soup kitchen we are committed to return to our roots as a Hospitality House, a place where everyone is accepted as part of this loving community and is provided opportunities to flourish and grow. To better serve the needs of our neighbors we recently purchased a site on Bridge Street in New Milford to build “The Danny Straub Community Outreach Center”. This new facility will allow Loaves and Fishes Hospitality House to fulfill the full promise of our mission statement:
“Feed the Hungry, Empower the Weak, and Nourish the Soul”.
It will position Loaves and Fishes to grow, expand and flourish. To make this transition a reality the board of directors has begun an ambitious capital campaign. For 2017, our phase one goal is to raise $750,000 which is required to build our new home.
The generosity of the people, businesses, organizations, and churches of New Milford and its surrounding towns continues to amaze and inspire us and we are very grateful to all of them. We are also grateful to the Town of New Milford for providing Loaves and Fishes our current space at the Richmond Center.
Finally, we are eternally grateful for the dedication of our corps of volunteers who, mostly without recognition or thanks, collect, prepare, and serve the meals. All of you continue to provide the love and compassion upon which Loaves and Fishes was founded and we do Thank You!