Fountain Valley News - Your Hometown Community Newspaper

Local Soup Kitchen Warms Body & Soul

 

Last updated 11/20/2019 at 4:29pm

News photo by Karin Hill

From left, Alexandra Georgi and Moises Chavez, along with other soldiers from Fort Carson, serve a plate of Thanksgiving food to helper Luke Adamczyk at the Community Soup Kitchen at First United Methodist Church of Fountain on Nov. 15. Adamczyk and other children from Cross Creek Church brought plates to dozens of people who had come in to enjoy a hot meal. The soldiers, members of B Co., 4BSB, 1SBCT, had joined Cross Creek Church volunteers for their monthly rotation running the soup kitchen.

For more than a decade, locals and travelers alike have been coming in to a Friday night soup kitchen in Fountain. Some come for the warm meal, others for the company.

It really doesn't matter who they are or why they come; all are welcome.

"It feels like you're sitting down with family," volunteer Cindy Averill said.

The Community Soup Kitchen at First United Methodist Church, 1003 N. Santa Fe Ave., opened its doors in October 2008. A church member had suggested that the congregation might be able to serve the community in this way, and members took on the challenge to provide a monthly meal. It quickly became apparent that weekly meals would be needed.

Each week a different church or community group runs the kitchen by providing a group of volunteers to prepare and serve the food.

"We do all our meals homecooked; we don't do soup," joked Averill, who leads volunteers from Cross Creek Church once a month.

On Nov. 15, her church group provided full Thanksgiving meals to those who attended. Regular workers had extra help from some Fort Carson soldiers – members of B Co., 4BSB, 1SBCT – who were looking for a place to volunteer.

Averitt's crew got involved about a year ago after her own passion for doing something to help her local community coincided with a plea for help. Ann Allen, a member of First United Methodist since 1963, had approached some churches, including Cross Creek, to ask for volunteers. Cross Creek's pastor connected the two women, and a new partnership was born. Now, the church provides volunteers and budgets for this outreach on a regular basis.

"I was pretty excited, and pretty emotional about it, too," Averill said.

Allen has seen countless people come through the church doors on Friday nights over the last decade. In recent weeks, attendance has fluctuated from 50 to 100. The highest they've seen is around 140, she said.

Sometimes, when the Friday is right after a major holiday like Thanksgiving, volunteers don't know how to plan for the soup kitchen because most people make other plans. But there has always been someone around, just in case.

"I always came because I was too afraid we would miss someone," Allen said. "I'd make a couple pots of soup."

There are people who come in hungry for food, while others come regularly for the fellowship.

"Mostly elderly people come," Allen said. "It's for the socialization and getting out."

But there are families with children, too. Some need clothing and other supplies, which the church keeps on hand in a special closet.

About a year ago, a man was walking the railroad tracks from Wyoming down to New Mexico when a major snowstorm left him stranded here. He found his way to the soup kitchen and found not only food but some shelter.

Organizers say there are still many people who need a hot meal or other handouts, but some still do not know the soup kitchen exists.

"We want to get the word out so people who are actually hungry know where to go," Averill said. "With rent going up so much, more families need help."

They have placed fliers at the YMCA, where increased numbers of homeless people come in to use showers. And other community organizations, such as Connections 4 Life, regularly refer people to the soup kitchen.

Allen and Averill noted that some other assistance organizations such as The Salvation Army and God's Pantry recently relocated from the heart of Fountain farther north into Security-Widefield, so those in need in Fountain have a harder time getting the help they're used to.

How You Can Help

News photo by Karin Hill

Joyce Schaffer, left, and Marianne Smith enjoy their Thanksgiving meal at the Community Soup Kitchen in Fountain on Nov. 15.

The soup kitchen currently has a reliable rotation of volunteers for the weekly meals, but more are always welcome. Greater needs at the moment are pantry staples, non-perishable items, and pull-top canned foods for people who don't have a permanent home; socks, underwear, and other clothing; large ready-to-cook frozen meals such as lasagna; gas cards or cash gift cards for those needing financial help to fill up their vehicle.

Donors may call the church office at 382-5113 to arrange drop off, or stop by the church on Fridays while meal preparations are under way.

The soup kitchen receives some corporate donations, such as breads and desserts from Panera on Saturday nights, which are then frozen for future use. Some volunteer groups furnish their own desserts, but other donations would be welcomed.

 

Reader Comments
(0)

 
 

Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2020

Rendered 09/18/2020 20:42