Soup kitchen seeks items to help those in need of food

Barb McManus, of the Village of St. Charles, makes salad containers to be delivered to the clients of the Wildwood Soup Kitchen.

Even though the Wildwood Soup Kitchen isn’t open to the public, Barb McManus isn’t letting that stop her from helping those in need.

As the soup kitchen’s volunteers still assist clients by delivering home-cooked meals, the Village of St. Charles resident is making sure things run smoothly.

McManus has been overseeing day-to-day operations each time the soup kitchen is open to help residents in the Wildwood area. The kitchen, hosted by First Presbyterian Church of Wildwood and run by volunteers, usually helps feed about 200-300 people in Sumter County. It’s currently in need of some specific items as they continue feeding the hungry and putting together Snack Packs for Wildwood schools.

“We aren’t a food pantry, but we do need some specific canned goods to help continue our mission,” said McManus, Wildwood Soup Kitchen president. “We are in need of small boxed cereal, canned vegetables and chicken, individual boxes of shelf-stable milk (and) some other items to add to the snack packs.”

McManus was excited to be able to continue the work started by Donna Slider, former manager of the soup kitchen, who passed away from breast cancer earlier this year.

“Donna was there to do anything for anyone at any time,” she said. “She didn’t know how to say ‘no’. She was just an amazing person and I am glad I am able to help continue her legacy.”

As volunteers prepare the home-delivered meals and snack packs, they are finding they are in need of an abundance of items.

“In addition to the cereals, vegetables and milk, we also need fruit cups, applesauce cups, individual soft packs of tuna, juice boxes, individual bags of chips and cookies and individual cheese and peanut butter crackers,” McManus added. “While donations currently cannot be donated to the building, those wishing to donate can contact me for more information about where to drop off donations.”

Helena Stone also enjoys volunteering at the soup kitchen. She usually is the cook on Fridays for the kitchen.

“I am currently unable to help out right now, but I love working with the soup kitchen and cannot wait to return,” the Village of Liberty Park resident said. “It’s nice to be able to give back and I love being able to help out.”

Normally the kitchen helps about 300 clients each time they are open; however, because of the coronavirus pandemic they have reduced their numbers to 150. Volunteers are still anxious to get out and help the poor and hungry and McManus is pleased to work with them.

“The volunteers do some amazing work,” she said. “Without them and the work they do, we wouldn’t be able to continue our mission of making sure no one goes hungry.”

For more information about the Wildwood Soup Kitchen or to make a donation, visit wildwoodsoupkitchen.org.

For more information about items the kitchen needs, or to make a donation, call McManus at 352-299-6494.

Staff writer Andrea Davis can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5374, or andrea.davis@thevillagesmedia.com.