Belfast Soup Kitchen was bustling with activity the morning of Oct. 23 with people having coffee and lunch, while in the center of the room, an oversize $500 check was presented to the pantry by United Realty's Fran Riley and Roland Littlefield.

"We at United Realty would like to encourage other real estate companies to 'match or best' our $500 contribution," Riley said. "This has been a remarkable year in our industry and this is a wonderful way to give back to the community."

The donation is "very heartwarming," said Mary Brand, president of the Soup Kitchen board of directors, "and it's my privilege to be a part of it. This community cares and the only way we can do this if the community continues to care.

"Right now we're in a transitional phase," she said, explaining work will soon commence on a new, permanent building at 29 Belmont Ave., across from Hammond Lumber-EBS. Ideally, she said, there will be a groundbreaking in spring and construction throughout the summer, with a possible opening at the end of next year.

"We are very excited about the next stage for us," Brand said. "It's a leap of faith."

The soup kitchen has temporarily relocated to Renys Plaza in the space formerly occupied by Scallions restaurant.