Soup and Bread patronage declines with Kittredge closure

Laura Haley

Chief Copy Editor

In the second semester of the 2017-2018 academic year, Kittredge Dining Hall closed its doors and ceased providing students with an additional dining location. In order to explain the shutdown of one campus dining location, Director of Campus Dining and Conference Services Marjorie Shamp commented, “The last year that Kittredge was open for student dining, it often served less than 10 percent of the meals for a given meal period, so we redirected the labor assigned to Kittredge to fill positions in Lowry Center Dining Hall where the greatest number of meal plan meals are served.” 

Currently, Kittredge is open for special events and every week provides the campus community a chance to give back. Soup and Bread, a campus program, is housed in Kittredge Hall every Wednesday during the course of the academic year. The program offers  lunch and occasionally dinner, which includes a soup and bread meal while also encouraging the campus community to donate proceeds from a meal swipe. Open for the entire Wooster community, the donation of a meal swipe will in turn provide a monetary donation to a charity that fights food insecurity. The organization’s slogan, “Eating simply so others can simply eat,” embodies the program’s goal of providing the basics for those in need.

Although Soup and Bread provides an excellent opportunity for the campus community to make a difference, weekly attendance has been lower than in previous years. Most frequently attended by students, a dedicated set of faculty, staff and community members, Soup and Bread is looking to increase its patronage. Nate Addington, director of civic and social responsibility, commented, “Part of [the low attendance] is also the closing of Kittredge; we would average around 150-170 participants a week, but since Kitt closed, our numbers have been consistently closer to 100. A lot of our success is building the program into people’s routine, so it is easy to let a week or two slip when that location is not an option every day.” He added, “But Soup and Bread has been in a variety of locations over the last 40 years, so I don’t think it’s fair to put all of the focus just on the location.”

 Part of the issue  has been attributed to lack of knowledge the campus community has regarding what the organization does, Connor Ferreri ’19, an intern with Soup and Bread, stated, “I don’t think everyone understands what the program really is.” As an intern, Ferreri works collectively with the intern team to train volunteers each week. 

In order to increase attendance, Addington believes that students need to cultivate and lead the motivation to boost patronage. “My office and dining services have a lot of great ideas for promotions and ways to improve the general structure, but we need students to champion the cause,” he stated. 

Looking towards the future, Shamp also commented, “While Kittredge will remain the location for Soup and Bread, and will continue to be used for special events, there is not a plan to reopen it for regular dining at this point.” Addington encouraged students to reach out with any questions, concerns or ideas in order to improve weekly attendance: “My door and inbox are always open!” he said.

Soup and Bread is located in Kittredge Dining Hall and is open every Wednesday from 11 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and ocassionally 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. 

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