BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO
Salvation Army Captain Richard Sanchez (center) with lunch
client Patrick Sims (right), 55, of Riverhead inside Salvation
Army headquarters Wednesday afternoon. The Osborn Avenue
building will now host the daily lunch program previously held
at the Riverhead train station.
Open Arms, the agency that’s been serving free meals to the needy from the Riverhead train station for the past year and a half, has found a new spot for its daily soup kitchen after being forced to move this month.
Open Arms has joined forces with The Salvation Army, and will now be serving ham sandwiches, fruit and slices of cake daily from the basement of its Osborn Avenue headquarters. The new location opened its doors Wednesday.
“We’ll continue to do the same thing,” said Salvation Army Captain Richard Sanchez.
Capt. Sanchez noted that the lunch program is particularly needed in the poor economy. Its attendance has more than tripled in the past two years.
Organizers appear happy with the new digs. “I think it’s perfect,” said Open Arms director Zona Stroy.
The program will continue to run from about noon to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The town has subleased the Riverhead station, which is owned by the Metropolitan Transit Authority but not used as a station, since January 2009. Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter announced earlier this year that the town would not renew its lease with Open Arms, forcing the agency to find another location.
The supervisor and other critics have said that a soup kitchen is important to the town but Riverhead’s transit hub is a bad location for it.