THE BRONX - A fire at a Norwood church spared the sanctuary, but badly damaged its basement and forced its soup kitchen to close.

The fire tore through the Lutheran Church of the Epiphany Saturday. The deacon says several programs were run out of the basement, including a soup kitchen. According to the deacon, the soup kitchen served hot meals to the elderly and homeless every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Since the soup kitchen is the only one of its kind in the Norwood area, the deacon says its loss will be felt by the community.

Church officials hope the soup kitchen can be reopened by April 1.

Firedestroys basement of Norwood church