• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 59s

Harvesting Alaska: Garden to bowl, a soup kitchen nourishes the hungry

By Heather Hintze 6:55 AM July 4, 2016
ANCHORAGE –

The downtown soup kitchen has the ultimate urban garden. Dozens of boxes and planters are tucked into every corner of its rooftop and flourishing with local greens.

HA Soup Kitchen Garden

“We have several different kinds of kale, Swiss chard and lots of parsley,” Martha Jokela listed off.

Jokela is a master gardener and a regular volunteer at the soup kitchen. She picks two big bags of leafy greens every week from the produce patio to ensure people in need have enough healthy food to eat when they come to the soup kitchen for help.

“Eating well is so easy to do and so attainable that everyone should be doing it. If anyone needs the nutrients and TLC, it’s these folks who are forced to live on the street,” she said.

Nutritionist Diane Peck said people who are homeless are often dealing with significant health issues and face an enormous amount of stress, which weakens the body’s immune system, making them more susceptible to viruses and infections. Fresh vegetables provide important nutrients to help reduce the risk of chronic diseases and strengthen the immune system, she said.

The kitchen stays busy with volunteers preparing mountains of sandwiches and gallons of soup.

Dave Sorenson is the soup chef on Tuesdays. He’s been a fine dining chef for almost three decades and wants to share his talents with a different crowd.

“Feeding the homeless doesn’t mean they’re getting the leftovers or some one else’s hand-me-downs. This is real good food that I would be proud to serve in a restaurant,” he said.

Sorenson said he understands how important it is to have food that not only tastes good but is good for you, especially if you’re living on the streets where good nutrition is hard to come by.

“I was homeless for a while when my parents divorced when I was a teenager. I was here for a year volunteering before I realized why I had such a connection with our clients. Because I was homeless too.”

Every day volunteers make enough to feed up to 500 people. People come from all walks of life but all have one basic need — a nutritional meal to get them through the day.

“It’s the best food you can eat here, doesn’t get any better than this,” said Timothy Macasaet.

He said he’s fortunate to have a home but comes to the soup kitchen for lunch.

“I love coming here because they have good healthy meals here,” Macasaet said. “I thank God for this place.”

KTVA 11′s Heather Hintze can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter.

Harvesting Alaska is an ongoing series exploring all the ways Alaskans live off the land. 

Read more

CSAs offer fresh, healthy produce and convenience

High tunnels protect environment, spur sustainability in the Last Frontier

Latest Stories

  • News

    Stubbs, Talkeetna’s honorary cat mayor, dies

    by Chris Klint on Jul 22, 22:25

    Stubbs, Talkeetna’s honorary cat mayor beloved by Alaskans and tourists alike, has died at the age of 20 according to the animal’s owners. Stubbs’ death was announced late Saturday in a statement from the Spone family, which purchased Nagley’s General Store and the West Rib Pub and Grill in 2015. Part of the contract, the […]

  • New White House communications director deletes old tweets contradicting Trump

    by CBS/AP on Jul 22, 19:55

    A day after accepting a top White House job, President Trump’s new communications director announced Saturday that he’s deleting old tweets that were critical of his new boss, saying his own views have evolved and that what he said in the past shouldn’t be a distraction. Full transparency: I'm deleting old tweets. Past views evolved […]

  • News

    Car-motorcycle crash hurts 2, closes Old Seward Highway south of Dowling Road

    by Chris Klint on Jul 22, 19:05

    The Old Seward Highway was closed Saturday night south of Dowling Road in both directions by a car-motorcycle collision that injured two people. Alaska road-conditions website 511.alaska.gov first mentioned the wreck at Old Seward near 69th Avenue shortly after 6 p.m. Anchorage police Sgt. Dawn Neer, at the scene, said a motorcycle had been headed […]

  • News

    Efforts continue to save Anchorage’s 4th Avenue Theatre

    by Dave Leval on Jul 22, 17:38

    There’s no denying Sandy Harper loves the 4th Avenue Theatre. “The theater has been here longer than I have,” said Harper, who has called Anchorage home for 30 years. The building has been part of the downtown Anchorage skyline for more than twice that, a span of 70 years. “I don’t think there’s anything like […]

  • Dozens hospitalized for excessive drinking at Chance The Rapper concert

    by CBS/AP on Jul 22, 17:28

    HARTFORD, Conn. — More than 90 people were hospitalized Friday during a concert featuring Chance the Rapper in Connecticut, officials said. A large number of people hospitalized were underage attendees experiencing “severe intoxication,” Hartford Deputy Chief Brian Foley said Saturday. Foley said officers made 50 underage drinking referrals Friday at Hot 93.7′s Hot Jam concert at Xfinity Theatre. […]

  • News

    Coast Guard: Kodiak missile test could occur as early as next week

    by Associated Press on Jul 22, 14:15

    KODIAK, Alaska (AP) – The U.S. Coast Guard says a launch from the Kodiak Island rocket launch complex in Alaska will occur as soon as next week. The Kodiak Daily Mirror reports a U.S. Coast Guard notice released Wednesday states the launch is scheduled to occur at the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska between 7 p.m. on […]

  • Son charged in death of father whose body was left on couch for weeks

    by CBS/AP on Jul 22, 14:12

    FRACKVILLE, Pa. — A man has been charged with killing his father, who authorities say was shot to death and his body then left on a couch in his home for weeks. Tyler Swantek, 24, faces charges in Schuylkill County including criminal homicide, first- and third-degree murder, aggravated assault and abuse of a corpse in the […]

  • News

    Search suspended for man overboard from skiff in Prince William Sound

    by Chris Klint on Jul 22, 13:21

    The U.S. Coast Guard spent much of Friday looking for a man who fell overboard from a skiff on the west side of Prince William Sound, but was unable to locate any sign of him. Coast Guard Petty Officer Jon-Paul Rios said that the man went overboard at about 2 a.m. Friday from a commercial […]