21 Mar 2012

More people relying on soup kitchens on Saipan in the CNMI

11:25 am on 21 March 2012

The soup kitchen operated by the Salvation Army in the Northern Marianas has seen a seven-fold increase in the number of clients it is serving in the last few weeks.

Initially the soup kitchen, called Guma Yo' Ase' or the House of Mercy had 28 clients, now it is helping out 192 people and 136 families who need help with food supplies.

With the surge in demand, the Salvation Army's ministry leader, Wayne Gillespie, says they are now trying to decide whether to keep the soup kitchen open for longer hours.

He says the Salvation Army is keenly aware of the increasing needs of the community, but he says opening longer would double the kitchen's overheads so it can't be open for as many hours as needed.

Mr Gillespie says they are also limited by their food supply at the soup kitchen, which survives through donations, grants, and income from rummage sales.