Daily Reporter logo

Soup kitchen puts out a call for help


Follow Daily Reporter:

Photos:

Volunteer Sheryl Murphy (right)  looks after a friend, Kate Bush, while the two have lunch at the Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen. Murphy, who also frequently eats at the soup kitchen, says it helps fill the gaps for people in need.

(Tom Russo / Daily Reporter)
Volunteer Sheryl Murphy (right) looks after a friend, Kate Bush, while the two have lunch at the Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen. Murphy, who also frequently eats at the soup kitchen, says it helps fill the gaps for people in need. (Tom Russo / Daily Reporter)

Volunteers Candace Tessmer (left) and Fay McGinnis fill a take-home tray at the Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen. An increase in clients, coupled with the new take-home program, has taxed the soup kitchen%u2019s resources.

(Tom Russo/Daily Reporter)
Volunteers Candace Tessmer (left) and Fay McGinnis fill a take-home tray at the Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen. An increase in clients, coupled with the new take-home program, has taxed the soup kitchen%u2019s resources. (Tom Russo/Daily Reporter)

Judy Crist, assistant manager at the Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen, works the phone for donations.

(Tom Russo/Daily Reporter)
Judy Crist, assistant manager at the Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen, works the phone for donations. (Tom Russo/Daily Reporter)


GREENFIELD — Five days a week, you can find Cheryl Murphy at the Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen.

On some afternoons, she and her brother, Robert Nicholas, are frantically doing dishes in the back, trying to keep up with the noontime rush. On others, the pair are taking advantage of the free meals the soup kitchen has to offer.

Murphy and her brother are among those who wouldn’t be able to make ends meet without the help the soup kitchen provides – and that number is rising.

In recent weeks, the soup kitchen has seen a more-than 25 percent increase in the average daily number of people served. Couple that with the soup kitchen’s new take-home lunch program, and the influx of clients has left the pantry’s shelves in desperate need of replenishing.

“We’ve been recently way over 100 (people) a day,” said Judy Crist, assistant manager of the soup kitchen. “It’s extremely busy behind the scenes.”

Part of the chaos as of late has included reaching out to the soup kitchen’s many local partners to spread the word about what’s lacking in the supply department.

“We could not do this without the community

support,” Crist said.

The soup kitchen serves two meals a day, five days a week. Clients may pick up a take-home lunch on Fridays to eat over the weekend. About 75 people are taking advantage of that program each week.

And there’s no question they’re grateful for the extra meal, considering the soup kitchen is closed on Saturdays and Sundays, Crist said.

Murphy said seeing clients’ smiles makes volunteering at the soup kitchen worthwhile. She greets servers with that same smile when she’s on the receiving end of the food line. Murphy lost her job in 2010, and her brother works part time at a fast-food restaurant in town. Both receive Social Security checks, but it’s not enough to make ends meet. The soup kitchen helps to fill the gaps.

“It means a great deal,” Murphy said. “It helps a lot of people. I’m glad they opened it, because there’s a lot of people (who don’t) have any food.”

Many faces are ones the servers see every day, and some share their stories openly. Others make their way quietly through the line.

The soup kitchen has two paid staff members; the rest of the work is done by a small army of volunteers.

Those volunteers reach out to those who make their way to the serving line, trying to find out if their needs go beyond basic meals.

One client was homeless and sleeping on a friend’s couch. He asked for an alarm clock. One without a stove was provided a slow-cooker in order to heat meals at home.

The staff does its best to meet clients’ needs, Crist said, though it isn’t always easy when there’s an unexpected influx.

Volunteer Jeanette Wickard volunteers at the soup kitchen each week and said the staff never knows just how much to prepare.

“A lot of times, we’ll have close to 70, 80 people on Monday at noon,” Wickard said. “Most of the time, it’s just a steady flow. You know when they come back for seconds, they’re hungry.”

CURRENT NEEDS

 The vast majority of ingredients used to make meals at the soup kitchen come from donations. Basic hygiene items are also provided to clients as needed. The soup kitchen is currently in need of the following:

 Butter

 Cheese (Shredded or sliced)

 Lunch meat

 Fresh fruit

 White vinegar

 Baggies (all sizes)

 Lunch sacks

 Toilet paper

 Peanut butter

 Jelly

 Ketchup

  Cornbread mix

 Foil

 Bleach

 

 

Think your friends should see this? Share it with them!

All content copyright ©2015 Daily Reporter, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.
All rights reserved. Click here to read our privacy policy.
Daily Reporter • 22 W. New Road • Greenfield, IN 46140 • (317) 462-5528