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Despite rumors, Spartanburg Soup Kitchen is not closing its doors

Rumors of the Spartanburg Soup Kitchen’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.

In a phone interview Wednesday, Lou Sartor, director of the soup kitchen, said, “We are absolutely not going anywhere.”

It’s a welcome statement for anyone concerned that the soup kitchen might be following the lead of the Spartanburg Opportunity Center and The Haven family shelter – two homeless services organizations that closed their doors for good last year and last month, respectively.

But it’s also an uncommon commentary on the power of rumors, which, Sartor said, got so out of hand that she couldn’t always keep up with her daily job.

“Some days, I couldn’t even do my paperwork,” she said. “People from all over the community were calling about this.”

Much of this month, she said, the soup kitchen has gotten three or four calls every day from those concerned the shelter would shutter.

While she doesn’t know exactly where the rumors came from, Sartor said they started swirling soon after construction of the city’s new minor league baseball stadium began over the winter, then ramped up once The Haven closed.

The rumor that the soup kitchen would close ended up getting the attention of several media outlets, which Sartor said she was grateful for.

“I’m really glad for the media coverage,” she said. “[Our guests] know all is well, that the doors will continue to open.”

Sartor said she’s been happy to get back to the business of getting ready for the weekend ahead. She said the soup kitchen is prepping 300 Easter baskets for children and preparing its Easter meals.

Scott Morgan is the Upstate multimedia reporter for South Carolina Public Radio, based in Rock Hill. He cut his teeth as a newspaper reporter and editor in New Jersey before finding a home in public radio in Texas. Scott joined South Carolina Public Radio in March of 2019. His work has appeared in numerous national and regional publications as well as on NPR and MSNBC. He's won numerous state, regional, and national awards for his work including a national Edward R. Murrow.