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story.lead_photo.caption FILE: Cavender Johnson, left, Gerry Mize, LaShawn Lee and Jackie Butler volunteered during the 2019 Thanksgiving dinner at the Fulton Soup Kitchen. In 2020, the FSP will be serving dinners five days a week but not lunch. Photo by Quinn Wilson / Fulton Sun.

The Fulton Soup Kitchen announced new hours for the new year Sunday.

Starting this week, the soup kitchen will offer dinner 5:30-6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, dropping lunches in favor of adding the Friday dinner meal.

Fulton Soup Kitchen Director Gerry Mize said the change is largely due to the low number of people stopping by for lunch.

"We felt our volunteers and financials — keeping the lights and heating on — would be better used to serve a Friday night meal," she said Monday. "More people come on evenings, and by adding a Friday meal, we can make sure everyone had a good meal before the weekend."

Stephanie Tallent, an administrator on the soup kitchen's Facebook page, said the soup kitchen served an average of 83 people per supper in 2019 since moving to its current Fourth Street location. That number included around 16 child and six senior patrons per meal. In total, Tallent said, the Fulton Soup Kitchen doled out 1,482 meals per month on average.

Mize said the kitchen was seeing only five to 10 diners at lunch meals.

"There were not very many people coming for lunch," she said.

With the new year, the soup kitchen is also seeking new volunteers to help feed Fulton's needy.

"We are always encourage people to volunteer," Mize said. "There are a lot of things to do behind the scenes beside just cooking and serving. For example, you could rotate produce in cooler or pick up donations. We want people for building maintenance like painting and keeping it extra-clean. There's a lot of little things."

The soup kitchen is hosting a volunteer training 9 a.m.-noon Saturday. It's required for people who want to cook or serve meals, though people who want to learn more about the soup kitchen or volunteer in other ways are welcome to attend as well.

"It's to familiarize them with general food-service information and what we expect from volunteers," Mize said.

Though no signup is required, commenting on the Facebook post about the training (on the "Fulton Mo Soup Kitchen" page) will help Mize figure out how many workbooks to bring, she said.

For those who can't volunteer in person, Mize said, the soup kitchen is always looking for donations. She described the soup kitchen's financials as "not ahead, but not behind either."

"Extra donations are always helpful this time of year; in the wintertime, we have heating costs, and there's always things we need repaired," she said.

Several fundraisers are coming up in February, including a spaghetti dinner.

"These fundraisers are very important to us," Mize added. "We're fundraising usually for the next month's electric (bill) and supplies."

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