Week 2, Day 4: Rivers Powers at St. Mary’s Catholic Church Soup Kitchen

What will the Lord put on your heart to help the poor & homeless eat a nutritious meal?

Access to healthy foods, regardless of someone’s socio-economic status is something I am passionate about, both personally and professionally.  St. Mary’s Catholic Church’s Soup Kitchen is at the top of the list in Memphis for tackling this issue on a daily basis.  They serve around 90,000 meals every year to the poor and hungry.  From 7:15 – 10:00am water, electricity for charging a cell phone, and food are provided to anyone who shows up. In addition to snacks, each person receives a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a deli meat sandwich, and 16 oz. of hot soup.  My tasks there were very basic – making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, breaking down a cooked chicken, dicing potatoes, and serving food.

From a volunteer’s perspective, the job functions are simple, but the people there are incredible.  The regular volunteer corps (especially Team Thursday) is a dedicated group of people with the most interesting life stories who just make you want to be a better person – not because of anything earthshattering but because they are genuinely good, warm souls who inspire those around them because they are simply kind, compassionate, and find charitable works to be a natural imperative.  Some people are a part of families who have volunteered at St. Mary’s for generations, and others aren’t parishioners or even Christians; they want to help their fellow man in any way they can, just because they can.  On one hand, it could make you feel bad for how little you may be giving back to your community, but on the other it helps restore your faith in humanity since you know there are people who are doing nice things for other people because they have the ability to do so.

And if that isn’t enough to give you the warm fuzzies, the gratitude and humility of those being served certainly will.  It was literally freezing when I got to St. Mary’s, and before it opened, there were dozens of people standing out in the cold waiting to be served, and when they came through the line to get their hot food, almost every single one of them said something pleasant or uplifting or even a simple thank you.

St. Mary’s Catholic Church Soup Kitchen is a very special place, and I recommend it as a volunteer opportunity for anyone looking to donate their time to a very worthy cause and/or to have an opportunity to experience some spiritual growth.


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