For the past 5 years, I have been a regular volunteer at Broad Street Ministry serving lunch, assisting in a clothing closet and extending hospitality to 200 guests on Saturdays.
Broad Street Ministry is a “broad minded” Christian community that nurtures and supports the most vulnerable people in Philadelphia. Broad Street operates the 315 Café which is a winter initiative that provides a warm, safe overnight respite for up to 75 guests on regular nights and 100 guests on Code Blue nights from January 1st thru March 31st. It is not a shelter but an invitation to come in from the streets to a warm, safe environment where guests get connected to supportive services which expand their options around housing, physical and mental health care, public benefits and more. It is also where guests can enjoy a hot serving of homemade soup in the middle of the night.
You might ask where they get the soup? Local church congregations donate batches of soup and I put out a request for help in our church bulletin, hoping that someone would answer. Almost two dozen volunteers signed up! The eager chefs worked to prepare and package the chicken and veggie soup. As the January delivery date approached, so did a major blizzard on the East Coast that dropped over two feet of snow. Amazingly, the extreme weather had little impact on our ability to see the mission through. After clearing a path to the kitchen, we loaded up the back of an SUV with the 48 gallons of frozen soup and delivered to Broad Street.
This past weekend, our February batch was delivered to Broad Street. Thanks to an even bigger response, we delivered more than 70 gallons of beef barley soup. What a tremendous effort from a very generous group of people. Seventy gallons of soup will feed about 560 people.
It’s not just a cup of soup! It’s a healthy serving of goodness prepared with love for people in tremendous need. It’s a meal we so often take for granted and yet for others, it might be the heartiest meal they’ve experienced in days or months.