ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (FOX 29) - An Atlantic City soup kitchen that has been serving those in need for more than two decades is about to close its doors.
FOX 29's Bruce Gordon reports.
Dozens of Atlantic City’s homeless and hungry filled the century-old Victory First Presbyterian Church on Pacific Avenue for a final meal there.
Katherine Hatton has been a regular for the past two years.
“Food to survive. I just got evicted two days ago, so I’m screwed for the month," she told FOX 29.
Located in the shadow of AC’s gleaming casino towers, Sister Jean’s Kitchen— a staple in this community for more than 20 years— has been ordered shut down by the city’s department of licenses and inspections because of structural problems that make the building unsafe for a soup kitchen or any other activity.
“I am a victim of domestic abuse and without Sister Jean’s here in Atlantic City, I would be dead. OK?," Francine Star said.
On this last day of meal service, stains and cracks in the ceiling could be seen just above the heads of those who have turned to Sister Jean’s for food and friendship through the thick and thin.
Jennifer Cunningham brought her 8-year-old son Omar with her on this final day.
“When you go through some hard times, they’re always opening their arms to you," she said.
Sister Jean’s owns another church property just a few blocks away from Victory First, but lacks the funds to make the nearly million and a half dollars in repairs and renovations needed to put that space to use.
City and state officials say they are working with Sister Jean’s to try and find a workable option for meal service.
Representatives of the Casino Redevelopment Authority in New Jersey will be on hand at 1013 Pacific Ave. Thursday to redirect users of Sister Jean’s Soup Kitchen to the alternate site provided by the Atlantic City Rescue Mission.