NAUGATUCK, Conn. (WTNH) — Many Americans couldn’t wait to get their stimulus check from the federal government to help get them through the coronavirus crisis. Carly Holloway of Naugatuck decided to use hers to help others.
“I started sewing masks with the COVID climate going on and I was giving them to homeless people in Waterbury,” Holloway said.
“They had pointed me to the soup kitchen on East Main Street and I started donating masks to the soup kitchen. The next day my stimulus check came and I realized my hometown, Naugatuck, needed a soup kitchen and the idea just grew from there.”
What grew was a plan for Holloway to buy large quantities of food. Then, she put a post on Facebook asking for volunteers to help her with her idea for a soup kitchen for her town. Out of that, the new Naugatuck Valley Soup Kitchen was born.
But, in the age of COVID-19, it’s not the typical soup kitchen you may be thinking of.
“It’s like a soup kitchen delivery service,” Holloway said.
In the mornings, Holloway is cooking waffles at a restaurant/bar called 66 Church in Naugatuck. It’s closed right now for dining-in but open for take-out. The owners of the bar donated their facility to Holloway’s effort.
“We just wanted to help out and do what we can,” said Krystal Chapman, general manager at 66 Church.
The idea really picked up steam when Naugatuck volunteers stepped up and signed up to help out. Volunteers, like Kimberly Delevie signed up to help box Holloway’s breakfast meals, which consist of waffles and fruit.
“I’m so happy to be part of Naugatuck,” Delevie said. “My son goes to Naugatuck High School and the community is just exactly what it’s meant to be a nice small town always lifting up each other.”
Then, when the boxes are ready, other volunteers like Christopher Rivera and his mom deliver them to people who signed up for the meals on the soup kitchen’s Facebook page.
“It makes me feel good that I’m doing something productive with my time,” said Monica Rivera, a volunteer.
“It’s great to be able to give back,” said Christopher Rivera.
Holloway says in a few weeks, her operation has grown to serve about 80 people in Naugatuck.
“I have a lot of people, low-income families, people without cars, and I just have people who are suddenly on unemployment,” Holloway said.
Holloway would not disclose how much this all cost to get off the ground. But, most stimulus checks for individuals were $1,200. Whatever the amount, Holloway is getting praise for her generosity and kindness.
“It renews your faith that there are people that are selfless,” Monica Rivera said.
To sign up or volunteer: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Food—Beverage/Naugatuck-Valley-Soup-Kitchen-103751814642976/