IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - The holidays can be tough for those who don't have a lot. The Idaho Falls Soup Kitchen was open for Christmas, serving a hot meal to those in need. It's possible thanks to Deana Brower, owner of Diablas Kitchen in Idaho Falls, and the volunteers who stepped in to help.
"Today we're serving a French cassoulet, which is a French casserole," Brower said. "And it has pork and chicken and green beans, tomatoes, all kinds of yummy seasonings. And then we had potatoes donated from Idahoan Potatoes so we're doing some just classic mashed potatoes to go along with it. And then macaroons for dessert."
For Brower, a family tragedy spurred her to want to give back to the community.
"My niece died a couple of years ago," she said. "And that just really brought to me a new sense of community. And doing what people need. And I can't imagine having nowhere to go. So, we're here."
The Soup Kitchen served almost 200 people on Christmas Eve. Anyone is welcome and they don't ask questions about your background. They're just there to provide a warm meal.
"We're really concerned too about the people that don't have anywhere to go today, don't have any family" Kaaren Parsons, who runs the Idaho Falls Soup Kitchen, said. "Maybe they're, you know, having some struggles in their lives. And this is a nice place for them to come. They can socialize with other people, have a nice meal, a warm place. And so, it's just important to be open on the holidays. They can be a rough time of year for people."
The Soup Kitchen had many volunteers for their Christmas lunch. They say it's fun to spend Christmas giving back.
"I just think it's a good thing to do in the spirit of Christmas," Paul Menser, a Soup Kitchen volunteer, said. "I love, you know, the Soup Kitchen. I love its purpose and I love its philosophy."
Parsons is thankful for those who choose to spend their Christmas volunteering.
"My favorite is how many volunteers com in on a holiday," she said. "You know, they've set aside their Christmas Day to come here and serve. And that's my favorite, is how much our community steps up to help here."
The Idaho Falls Soup Kitchen is open 365 days a year and serves 55,000 meals to those in need.