ATLANTIC CITY — The trees and poles outside Sister Jean’s Kitchen got colorful on a rainy evening Sunday.
The Rev. Jeanie Manson and her Murmuration Ministry, based in Galloway Township, held a “yarn bombing” at the site of the kitchen, at Victory First Presbyterian Deliverance Church on Pacific Avenue, as a way of bringing attention to what Manson said was the “horrible” condition of the facility and the need for a new location.
“Sister Jean’s is having a really, really hard time,” Manson said. “The truth is, it needs a new venue ... but Sister Jean’s doesn’t have the money for a new venue. It feeds 400 people a day, but those people aren’t going anywhere.”
The Rev. John Scotland, who runs Sister Jean’s Kitchen, was just as blunt about the kitchen’s future.
‘We’ve got to move,” Scotland said. “We’re trying to find a place to go.”
Mayor Don Guardian said in February that repair costs for the building and the lack of a convenient place for people to wait for meals made the current location a problem. But the previous sites considered for the kitchen, near Virginia Avenue and another near the Rescue Mission, both fell through due to their closeness to residential neighborhoods.
“We’re looking for a spot that works for everybody, and one that especially works for the homeless people so they’d be able to access it,” Scotland said. “It’s an important part of the connected ministries for homeless people in Atlantic County.
“Any social service agency serving the homeless can come to Sister Jean’s and access (them) there,” he said. “Our policy is that we’re open — anyone who walks in can eat. They don’t have to be prequalified or give their name. They can find sanctuary, quiet and food, so everyone can brighten their day.”
Murmuration Ministry has financially supported the kitchen in the past, Scotland said, and the yarn bombing is their way to “draw attention to the connectiveness of ministries in the general Atlantic City area.”
Manson said yarn bombing “is basically decorating stuff that’s stationary with crocheted and knitted items. It’s not permanent and can be taken down. ... And also, it’s to cheer people up.”
Jackie Sarner, of Galloway Township, said some of the materials used to decorate trees and poles came from the Goodwill store, and others were donated or made by relatives.
“I think it brings attention to all the good work being done here,” Sarner said. “Especially in light of the conflict going on with the city of trying to get (services provided by the John Brooks Recovery Center) out of the Tourism District.”
Robin Mishkovski, of Mullica Township, helped decorate with her daughter, Aimee, in Sunday’s steady rain.
“I think it’s so exciting,” Mishkovski said. “I really hope people notice. Because we’re getting awfully wet.”
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