BELFAST — After working closely together for two years, the Belfast Soup Kitchen and The Kindness Programs of Searsport are merging. Cherie Merrill, executive director of the Belfast Soup Kitchen, sees this as “the first step in creating an innovative and collaborative hub to provide hunger relief for Waldo County,” according to a press release issued Oct. 25.

Directed by Jayne Snowdale, the Kindness Programs has provided thousands of meals to seniors, children and families in Searsport and the surrounding area. The program has grown exponentially, according to the press release, and on Oct. 13, the Kindness Programs board of directors voted to merge the program and all Kindness assets with the soup kitchen.

All Kindness Programs services will continue through the merger.

The Kindness Programs operated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, with support from the First Congregational Church of Searsport and the United Methodist Church of Searsport and has been staffed by volunteers “who worked countless hours to care for the needs of local residents of all ages experiencing food insecurity,” the press release said.

The organization has provided meals for the HUSH Program, the Summer Food Service Program (in sponsorship with Belfast Soup Kitchen) for children in five locations, as well as presently providing cooked meals for 54 seniors, and boxes of food each week for 105 children and their families.

Families and seniors who have been receiving assistance through The Kindness Programs should reach out to the Belfast Soup Kitchen at 338-4845 to assure continuity of services.