NSKS recognized with Gate City Light Award

Adam Urquhart Executive Director at NSKS Michael Reinke and NSKS staff and volunteers, members of the Mayor’s Volunteer Recognition Committee, Mayor Jim Donchess and different nominated agencies gathered at NSKS for the informal award ceremony.

NASHUA – The Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter was recognized as the 2018 Gate City Light Award recipient at an informal ceremony Saturday afternoon.

Mayor Jim Donchess and the Mayor’s Volunteer Recognition Committee were present to honor NSKS, but the award will officially be presented during the Board of Aldermen meeting on Tuesday.

“One of the great things about Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter is people from all walks of life come together at one place, and they’re able to meet and talk to each other and share a meal in a way that perhaps is true only at this location,” said Soup Kitchen and Shelter Executive Director Michael Reinke.

Reinke and NSKS staff and

volunteers, members of the Mayor’s Volunteer Recognition Committee and different nominated agencies gathered at the Soup Kitchen at 2 Quincy St. for refreshments and to listen to Reinke, Committee Chair and Director of the Police Athletic League Shawn Nelson and Donchess.

“We’re an organization that likes to do good work,” Reinke said.

The Gate City Light Award is presented to recognize an agency and its volunteers for their time and spirit in the community and for their significant contributions to the people of Nashua, and NSKS was selected out of 16 nominees. The Mayor’s Volunteer Recognition Committee’s mission is, “To recognize Nashua volunteers and enhance the quality of volunteer programs while providing supportive, professional network of colleagues.”

“We could not provide the meals we do or the shelter or all the good work that the Soup Kitchen does without volunteers,” Donchess said.

He said, for 37 years, the scope of the contributions NSKS have made has continued to expand.

“Of course, in this case, we know the Soup Kitchen has done wonderful things here in the city for such a long time,” Donchess said.

Some of those things include providing food, shelter, financial services, education, employment services and more. Aside from that, earlier this year, NSKS become the first solar-powered nonprofit in Nashua, and they expect to save roughly $176,000 over the life of the system while reducing more than 45,000 pounds of carbon pollution annually.

“The city is working very closely with the Soup Kitchen in as many areas as we can. Specifically, one which is the Meals for Kids program, which Michael conceived at the beginning,” Donchess said.

Reinke said NSKS has at least 1,000 unique volunteers cycling through each year, coming from different congregations, service groups, companies as well as community members.

“People just do it because they think it’s what they ought to do, and I don’t think anyone comes here saying, ‘hey, I want to be recognized as the person whose volunteered the most.’ They’re just here to help, and I think that’s what the organization is about. It’s great to be recognized,” Reinke said.

Adam Urquhart can be reached at 594-1206 or aurquhart@nashuatelegraph.com.