Soup's on at local church kitchen

January 15, 1997


Staff Writer

Some come for the meal, some for the company. But most of those who stop in at Zion Evangelical and Reformed Church's new soup kitchen seem to partake of both.

"The first week, most of the people who came ate their soup and left," said Nancy Cook, one of the organizers of the now weekly soup kitchen.

The next time, there was more conversation and "visiting," Cook said.

The idea for a soup kitchen followed a year of soul-searching by a new women's group at the church, Cook said.


"Everyone in the group agreed they wanted to do a community project," Cook said. The trick was to agree on what kind of project.

After batting around ideas for several months, the women decided last summer to open a soup kitchen at the 201 N. Potomac St. church.

Three test runs were made on a monthly basis in October, November and December. The kitchen went weekly in January and is open every Tuesday from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

So far the largest "crowd" has numbered 16, Cook said.

"We have a location here in the church with an entrance right off the back parking lot," Cook said. "It is the right size and is secure from the rest of the church."

Church volunteers make 8 to 10 gallons of soup each week and take it to the site. The type of soup served up varies from vegetable to chicken corn chowder, to whatever the women want to make, Cook said.

In addition to soup, there are sandwiches, Cook said.

"Some of our older ladies support the soup kitchen by baking cakes," Cook said. Others bring oranges, apples, grapes or whatever else they want to donate.

Coffee, lemonade, milk and water are provided to drink.

"So far, we have mostly seen single men, many from the YMCA and the cold weather shelters," Cook said.

A woman with two children visited the soup kitchen once, and another time, a man arrived with two youngsters.

"We have notified all the agencies in town about the soup kitchen," Cook said. And fliers have been posted in churches and around town.

Although the kitchen is located in a church, its purpose is to provide food and company, Cook said.

"We sit and talk, but we don't ask too many questions," Cook said.

She said that even the humble beginnings of the soup kitchen tell her that there is definitely a need in the community for such a service.

"I have visions of a daily soup kitchen growing out of this, not just at Zion but some place where a lot of people can be served," Cook said.

Anyone interested in donating time, food or both to the soup kitchen may contact Cook at 739-7244 or 745-4607.

The Herald-Mail Articles