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Community rallies behind vandalized soup kitchen

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On Monday night, someone broke into the Saint Francis of Assisi soup kitchen in Harrisburg and sprayed fire extinguishers on almost everything. Since then, it’s been closed causing soup kitchen director, Johathan Palmer, to ask, “Who would do this?”

The kitchen, located in the 1400 block of Zarker Street, has been open for 30 years, but this is its worst case of vandalism. “We are here trying to help the community that does not have,” Palmer said. “For someone to come in and do this is.. just reprehensible to me.” Since the vandalism on Monday night, the kitchen has had more than 60 people donate food and money for a new security system.

Palmer is planning on reopening the kitchen on Monday so she can get back to feeding roughly 200 people a day. “It’s a decent meal,” she said. “It’s not something that’s thrown together. It’s, to me, the kind of meal where you could go home, sit down, and have the kind of meal you have there.”

Curtis Brooks is one of the people Palmer helps at St. Francis. He has been coming to the soup kitchen with his wife nearly every day for the last year as a place where his children can play. “They come for activities down here, and the people here are very polite to you,” Brooks said. The kitchen’s reopening on Monday is welcome news to Brooks, his family, and the hundreds of others who count on it.