Trenton Area Soup Kitchen welcomes all

TASK’s ‘No Questions Asked Policy’ eases the way for those who need help

For many, their first soup kitchen meal can be a difficult experience. Dottie Laczny, a retired school cafeteria worker, recalled her feelings of distress five years ago when she ventured in to get a hot meal from one of the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen’s community partner sites in Yardville, NJ.

“In the beginning, I was so embarrassed. I never needed help from anybody. Then everything went downhill,” Dottie says. “But then I met everyone, and they were so welcoming. I felt like I had another family.”

TASK’s “no questions asked” policy is designed to make it easier for people like Dottie to get help. In 40 years of operations, TASK has never turned away anyone who has asked for a meal.

“I remember when the pandemic hit, quite a few people suddenly found themselves out of work. They were embarrassed. We said, ‘Don’t be. Come and get food,’” says Mark Dahlinger, who leads one of TASK’s partner sites in Hightstown, NJ.

From day one, volunteers are schooled in TASK’s inclusive philosophy. “Our job is to help people, not ask them why they are here,” Mark explains. “People should be treated with respect; they are our neighbors. The food is important, but being treated like a human being is even more important.”

TASK’s “no questions asked” policy has earned the trust of thousands over the last 40 years, helping TASK grow to a restaurant-style, take-out or dine-in food hub that serves 8,000 meals a week to 34 sites across Mercer County and into Lower Bucks County.

Retired hairdresser Marie Homick learned about TASK from a friend and now encourages her acquaintances to come on down for a meal. 

“I was apprehensive at first. Now I tell others to try it and see. I’ve got friends who are having a hard time paying bills, rent. I tell them anyone can come. They make you feel at home.”

The Trenton Area Soup Kitchen is located at 72½ Escher Street, Trenton, NJ.

For more info visit or call 609-695-5456.

PHOTO CAP: Dottie and her friend, Pat, smile at TASK’s Yardville community meal site.

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