The Soup Kitchen is the program that launched Good News as simply a humanitarian ministry in the late 1980s. Over the years, this vital community service has flourished mainly through word of mouth.
Our Soup Kitchen mission has not changed, although its physical location has shifted. Initially, we offered sandwiches and other non-heated food; over the past several years, our volunteers make it possible to prepare hot meals each day. Now operating out of The Shelter in the heart of Tallahassee, we serve approximately 180-200 free hot lunches Monday through Friday.
Noontime between 11:30 and 12:30, low income and homeless citizens are able to get at least this one nourishing meal each weekday. Many are day laborers clinging to subsistence between jobs, grateful to avoid the cost of lunch.
Food for our meals is obtained through our Food Distribution ministry and through “total package” donations of both food and preparation by groups and organizations through their own outreach efforts. Sometimes organizations complete their kindness by helping distribute the meals at the Soup Kitchen location.
The Shelter facility has enough long tables and chairs so that as many as 100 may be seated at one time. Lunch includes food and drink, tableware and napkins. Each diner is responsible for returning the utensils to the Soup Kitchen administrator.
Statistics show that about 80% of those served are minority races and predominantly male (3:1). By age, more than half are in the 26-39 year bracket, with most of the rest older than that. Because we have volunteer labor and no- or low-cost food, our hot meal investment is less than 50-cents per serving.
Annual volunteer hours regularly top 5,000. No other facility in Leon County, Florida offers weekday free noontime meals to the homeless population.
Our Ongoing Needs:
Church groups, civic organizations, and compassionate individuals form our volunteers. We have room to include groups in an “Adopt-a-Day” plan. A group makes a commitment to help us one day a month. Help can be any or all of the basic services: food purchase and preparation, serving meals between 11:30 – 12:30 weekdays at The Shelter, and helping with cleanup afterwards.
In some cases, civic groups have made the service one of their ongoing commitments; in one case a school group has promised to prepare a meal a month; some individuals simply want to get involved doing the work the Lord has instructed.
While many homeless are found in our inner city, many others are on the fringes. Bus tokens and bus tickets that we can provide will help get these under-served people get to us for their meal.
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