- Associated Press - Sunday, January 21, 2018

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A hot soup and sandwich cafe in North Dakota has reopened more than two years after losing its lease on a former location.

The new and expanded Heaven’s Helpers Soup Cafe offers free food six days a week, with freewill donations accepted, the Bismarck Tribune reported. It’s located in Bismarck near the former Ruth Meiers Hospitality House men’s emergency shelter, which closed in October.

Executive Director Mark Meier said that some challenges the cafe faced to reopen, included raising $250,000 and relying on thousands of volunteer hours to help with renovations. A second renovation phase to add private showers, laundry facilities and a computer area is also planned.

“It was a community effort, people chipping in and helping,” Meier said. “It’s exciting to see it all come together.”

He encourages people who would normally go to a restaurant for lunch to stop at the cafe and give a donation.

“Instead of going to their local restaurant and spending $10 on a meal, put $10 in the box and you’re paying it forward to a person who can’t afford it,” Meier said.

The volunteer-run cafe first opened in 2009 but lost its lease in June 2015. It’s open Monday through Saturday. It’s closed on Sundays and holidays.

“We serve not only the homeless, but we’ve got a big segment of elderly that come here, working poor, single moms and dads with kids,” Meier said. “It’s really for anybody. We just want to treat people with love and respect.”

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com


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