The Soup Kitchen

The question often arises, “When and how did the First Presbyterian Soup Kitchen get started?” It all began in 1995, when a Committee was formed to begin discussing renovating the kitchen to bring it up to code and in June, 1994, with $94,000 received in donations, work began renovating the kitchen.

With work completed in March, 1997, the Kitchen Renovation Committee recommended to Session that a FPC Soup Kitchen be started and was approved by Session, with a start-up fund of $3000, to begin on December 10, 1997. Heading up this huge task was Reverend Jonathan Carlisle and his wife, Sue, who was named as Soup Kitchen Coordinator. We were all blessed with Sue’s wonderful cooking talents, especially her bread pudding made from Oram’s leftover donuts. Even with a full time job, she always had a delicious full course meal and a homemade dessert each week.

When the Carlisle’s left in 2001 for a calling in Coshocton, Ohio, Melva Kulik stepped up and accepted the SK Coordinator position and remained in this role until December, 2006 at which time Clair Shaffer, with his wife Cathy, became SK Coordinator until 2010, when he resigned because of declining health problems. At that time, Jim Stillwagon agreed to be SK Coordinator and remains in that position, with Cathy Shaffer, today.

The Soup Kitchen was started on the theme of Luke 14:12-14, by the Carlisles and remains so today: “When thou makes a dinner…But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame….for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” . In 2019, the SK served over 5000 meals. This was only possible because of the many volunteers that have committed themselves each week to the SK and for the generous donations that are received from groups and people locally as well as far away as Illinois and South Carolina. The Soup Kitchen can only continue their outreach to the Community because of committed people who have generously given over the years with their time and money.

The invitation is always open for you to stop in on a Wednesday and visit the 75+ people that we serve each week. Volunteers have gotten to know most of the guests on a first-name basis. It is very humbling to serve the Lord by feeding His people. If you think you might like to volunteer, as Lou Pappan always said in his commercial, “Try it, you might like it!”.