Editor's note: A previous version of this story misidentified Jennifer Clark as the executive director of St. Vincent De Paul. She is actually the chief operating officer.  Her title has been corrected.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The attendance at a Louisville food pantry and kitchen jumped significantly this summer, according to its executive director.

What You Need To Know

  • St. Vincent De Paul is one of Louisville’s longest running resource hubs for vulnerable residents

  • Open Hands Kitchen serves two hot meals a day and has for decades

  • Chief operating officer, Jennifer Clark says pantry attendance has doubled this year

The executive director of a Louisville homeless shelter says they’ve seen a big jump in the number of people attending their food kitchen. At the same time, St. Vincent de Paul has expanded its overnight shelter to a 24-hour-facility.

St. Vincent De Paul is one of Louisville’s oldest operating shelters and resource hubs for residents facing a range of housing emergencies. Chief operating officer Jennifer Clark oversees an entire city-block’s worth of shelters, subsidized apartments, food pantry and twice daily food kitchen. 

The Open Hands kitchen has been serving the community for decades. Clark says the number of people seeking them out for hot meals has jumped this summer.

“We’ve seen our numbers in the Open Hands Kitchen go up tremendously. So in July we served 7,500 meals. And then in August and September we’ve been serving over 9,000 meals,” Clark said. 

In addition, the number of people coming to their food pantry has doubled. She believes the sharp rise in inflation is a major reason for these numbers rising.

“We’re definitely seeing people being challenged in this economy,” Clark said.

St. Vincent is also providing even more services at its 40-bed men’s shelter. In September, the shelter shifted from overnight only to a 24-hour facility. This was made possible by a $225,000 grant from the Louisville Metro Council.

“We’ve had more people who’ve been able to get jobs. We’ve had more people who’ve been able to work. As you might imagine, if you know that you have to come back and check in at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, it’s kind of hard to plan the rest of your day,” Clark said.

With the changing season comes dropping temperatures, which means Clark is also preparing for when their emergency shelter opens, bringing in even more vulnerable residents.