Paterson community kitchen resumes sit-down services after 2-year hiatus due to COVID

PATERSON, New Jersey (WABC) -- A community kitchen in New Jersey resumed sit-down services this week for people in need after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19.

Now volunteers are happy to welcome back their clients for indoor dining. Eva's Village is a non-profit in Paterson and the outreach is non-stop.

COVID-19 may have closed Eva's Village for two years, but it did not stop volunteers from making 365 meals a day, which included breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

"We prepared to-go meals in containers and then handed them outside on the street," said community volunteer Linda Conklin.

Not welcoming clients inside to a table and a chair during COVID shutdown was painful, but necessary.

"It was hard. You saw them sitting on the curb, they were sitting on the wall at St. John's across the street, a lot of them were taking the food to ... I don't know where," Eva's Village volunteer Paul Borrell said.

Conklin has volunteered for the past 12 years, Borrell has been coming for 30. They both say that Eva's Village is more than just the food.

"You try when the people would come and you would serve it, for those brief seconds you would try to look them in the eye and make them feel that they're worth something," Borrell said.

"I get so much more back by coming here than I know that I ever could give," Conklin said.

The community kitchen was once called Eva's Kitchen, but it grew into Eva's Village.

"Maybe they're homeless, maybe they have substance use disorder ... so there's are a lot of reasons why people are hungry. We have homeless shelters, we have halfway houses, we have health services to offer," said Laura Van Bloem the Senior Director of Development.

Eva's Village serves breakfast and have two seatings for lunch.

To find out how you can donate and for more information, you can visit the website for Eva's Village.

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