Erie’s Emmaus Soup Kitchen has been serving the Hungry for nearly 50 years and is a ministry of the Benedictine Sisters.

Sister Valerie Lucky is the new executive director of Emmaus Ministries but she says it’s not just a soup kitchen anymore.

For the past decade, they’ve actually been doing a bit of urban farming on East 11th Street.

“We’ve been spending 10 years producing all this fresh produce, which we’ve now harvested about 20,000 pounds of fruit, vegetables and herbs for our local population that comes to our food pantry every Monday and Tuesday morning. It’s been a great gift for them. Eyes light up when they see fresh produce. There are about 150 families come through on Monday and another 150 families on Tuesday,” said Sister Valerie Luckey, Emmaus ministries executive director.

Emmaus Ministries is probably best known for its nightly meals served hot to those in need at the soup kitchen.

“From the first night when we had one guest show up in 1974, now we serve 200-250 guests every night,” Sister Luckey added. “They come and we try to create a warm welcoming hospitable community which is right in line with the Benedictine charism, which is to welcome everybody as Christ.”

This week’s Loving Giving Local donation will help Emmaus feed more families but if you’d like to help, there’s something you can do.

“We’re always making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for our guests as an extra supplement, so we’re always open to taking peanut butter and jelly. We’re always very open to having people make desserts which we give out at the soup kitchen. All those extra things that go along with the meals are helpful to us,” Sister Luckey said.

“This donation is going right back into their food pantry. We didn’t expect anything less. That’s what Loving Giving Local is all about,” said Joe Askins, Auto Express Resale Center.