Nova Scotia

New Waterford's only soup kitchen to close

Financial struggles have forced New Waterford's only soup kitchen to close its doors and put its building up for sales, says its founder.
At least 40 people use Ma's Meals and Shelter in New Waterford daily, according to officials. (CBC)

Financial struggles have forced the only soup kitchen in New Waterford, N.S., to close its doors and put its building up for sale, says its founder.

Fred Milley founded Ma's Meals and Shelter two and a-half years ago to help those in need in the community.

It's been serving lunch to more than 40 people a day and provides special meals for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Milley said constant financial burdens made him decide to close, but he's hopeful the board of directors will be able to look for possible future options.

"We need private sector money in order to get going to be self-sufficient, you know? You can't expect government to get you going these days, or bail you out or whatever. I mean we have to, as a community as the private sector, we have to make it a priority to take care of places like this," he said.

John Pratico, a regular at Ma's, said the closure is devastating news for everyone who depends on it for food.

"It's beyond soup and sandwiches because a lot of people need the fellowship here, socialization. We can discuss our issues our everyday living," he said.

Anne Marie MacPherson, president of the nearby St Vincent de Paul Food Bank, said they're open two days a week and are ready to serve those who were going to Ma's.

"I feel very bad for them, I think Freddy has some very, very good ideas and I really feel bad that he has to close up," she said.

Milley, a Red Seal chef, said he's going to work out west.

He plans to return in the spring of next year to hopefully revive the operation.

Ma's last meal will be served on Wednesday.