Nova Scotia

New Waterford soup kitchen appeals for funds

A Cape Breton soup kitchen that serves thousands of meals every year is asking for help from the province and its community in order to stay in business.
John Johns says he'd go hungry if Ma's Meals closes. (CBC)

A Cape Breton soup kitchen that serves thousands of meals every year is asking for help from and its community and the province in order to stay in business.

Ma's Meals and Shelter in New Waterford only has enough funds to operate until the end of the month. If they don't get any more money they will have to close.

"It's very important you can come over and get a hot coffee and sandwiches meet people," said John Jones.

Ma's is a daily routine for Jones, who said he's on a fixed pension and relies on the food kitchen.

He said if Ma's closes he'll go hungry.

"After I pay my bills, I don't have too much to live on. I come over here every morning, sometimes I come back in the afternoon, grab a cup of coffee and another donut and I make my own supper," Jones said.

The province gives Ma's $20,000 a year and it also relies on community donations to keep the doors open.

At the end of month the provincial cash will run out.

"If we don't have the funds to run this place, we will have to shut the doors. That would be a sad day," said Cory Durant, a Ma's Meals board member.

Sidney MacLean, a volunteer at Ma's, also worries about what would happen if it closes.

"They come here is get something to eat. When they leave they also with a bag in the bag there's bread and some soup, so we are working here with the best we have. It would be a shame if it did close," MacLean said.

At least 40 people use the shelter daily, according to officials.

"Here at Ma's, we're are kind of unique as being a soup kitchen, said Fred Milley, co-ordinator for Ma's Meals.

"We do much more than feed people. We give people long-term plans that may be recovery, getting help with mental issues and it will be really sad to see us close."

The board hasn't given up hope of getting a new grant from the province, but there's been no word on their application.

If they don't get government help, Ma's will close.