bridgeport rescue missionBRIDGEPORT, CT – On a good night, depending on how you interpret it, Donna Romano said the Bridgeport Rescue Mission delivers up to 300 meals to the less fortunate in Bridgeport and South Norwalk.

Romano, the spokeswoman for the mission, said the non-profit feeds souls and stomachs with assembly-line precision — and a smile– through the window of its food truck.

Or at least it did.

The food truck — the Bridgeport Rescue Mission calls it “mobile kitchen 1” — served its last meal recently after yet another unforgiving winter night. Now officials are trying to raise $25,000 to replace the food truck that broke down for the last time.

But while the mission is making due with a cargo van, aluminum trays and portable tables, the need for a hot meal on some of the coldest, nastiest nights of the year isn’t going away.

The men and women with stories in their eyes feel it. Local families feel it, too.

“It kills my heart to see a 5-year-old girl come up to the truck and ask for five or six plates,” said Michael Pennypacker, a student in the New Life Discipleship Program at the Bridgeport Rescue Mission.

The biggest problem is setting up shop outside the cargo van in icy parking lots and snow-buried streets. It doesn’t take long for scores of hot meals to turn cold in February, despite the mission’s best intentions.

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