The city’s largest soup kitchen, at Chelsea’s Episcopal Church of the Holy Apostles, serves an average of 1,250 people each day. Lately, that number sometimes reaches 1,600. “The people we serve are the canaries in the coal mine,” says interim rector Elizabeth G. Maxwell. “They know a crisis is coming before Wall Street does.” Even as demands on the church are rising, its funding is falling. Thirteen percent of the soup kitchen’s $2.6 million budget comes from government sources. “The state has been cutting across the board, so we’re concerned,” she says. But volunteer numbers are up. “We need about 50 a day, and sometimes we get 70,” Maxwell says. “People want to do something about the crisis.”
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