Daily Bread Soup Kitchen adds water bottles to menu

Daily Bread Soup Kitchen adds water bottles to menu

CHAMPAIGN — Guests at the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen got a little extra help beating the heat Tuesday: free reusable water bottles.

Daily Bread volunteer Karen Kane started collecting the water bottles this week to hand out during the excessive heat wave.

And the gesture was much appreciated by people who stopped in to cool off or eat at soup kitchen Tuesday morning.

"I think it's excellent," Michael Davis said. "Anything free is good."

Wendell Sutherland said she passed out in her yard Monday afternoon from dehydration and had to go to the hospital, where doctors told her to drink plenty of liquids.

"Everywhere I go, I'm going to take it with me," she said of her new water bottle.

Kane got the idea Sunday when she saw the weekly forecast, which calls for the heat index to reach 105 to 115 through Saturday.

She was helping out at the weekend sandwich distribution that Daily Bread started this summer, when she noticed a guest with a refillable water bottle.

"I thought that would be a helpful thing to have," she said, noting that many of the soup kitchen's clients carry belongings in backpacks.

She started making calls on Monday, asking businesses or individuals to drop off water bottles at her house or at the soup kitchen. She also bought some herself, collecting 82 in all.

On Tuesday, she set them in a basket in the waiting area next to big coolers of water and pink lemonade, so guests could fill bottles with either beverage.

Kane said most of the water bottles were probably gone by Tuesday afternoon, as the soup kitchen has been drawing about 200 people a day for lunch this summer.

Several dozen people were already there by 10 a.m. even though the soup kitchen doesn't officially open until 11 a.m. They mingled and drank water or lemonade as volunteers prepared food for lunch.

"We tend to let people in by 9:30 or 10, particularly when it's so hot," said volunteer Ellen Harms, although she said it depends on the particular crew working that day. "How could we let people stand out in this heat?"

Anyone who'd like to donate reusable water bottles can drop them off between 10 a.m. and noon weekdays at the soup kitchen, housed at New Covenant Fellowship, 124 W. White St., C (corner of White and Randolph streets).

"If people bring me any more, I'll take them," Kane said.

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