MURRAY — A local organization working to combat food insecurity in Calloway County celebrated its fourth anniversary Wednesday afternoon.
Soup for the Soul first opened its doors in 2015, and the organization has continued to grow in the years following. The kitchen began as a Facebook post by co-founder Debbie Smith, and from that post sprang considerable community support.
“We have had so much great help, the community has just flooded us with folks who are willing and want to help,” said David Morgan, kitchen manager at Soup for the Soul. “We have volunteers lined up for nearly a year out and it has been great.”
Smith said they expected the amount of volunteers to fall off after some time, but finding willing volunteers has not been an issue. Smith also said that while there have continued to be a steady stream of donations from businesses and organizations, individual donations have dropped off.
“We are getting a lot of money from big companies and businesses, but our individual donations have fallen off,” Smith said. “That is what we really hope to see picking back up and see people giving the $100 a month if they can. We appreciate everything we do get; we get so much help.”
A story printed in the Ledger & Times in 2015 said the kitchen opened its doors with 29 plates served. That number has grown to nearly 70 a day.
“We typically serve 68 to 72 people a day over the last four years,” Morgan said. “We have seasons where that is lower, but I have served up to 120 people.”
Susan Rowland is one such individual that has been touched by the kind hearts at Soup for the Soul.
“When they first opened, I was wheeled in here in a wheelchair because I’d had a stroke,” Rowland said. “So this is a very important anniversary because here I am standing today, and Soup for the Soul has everything to do with my recovery. They taught me how to walk and talk again, and they taught me about God and I got saved and baptized all because these people love me.
“Soup for the Soul is my life; I volunteer every day. This is the best community get together.”
Morgan said he has also seen a sense of community emerge from the kitchen and the work it does.
“I get to have fun with not only the volunteers, which are great, and I get to see a different bunch every night,” Morgan said. “The people who come in here are so courteous and we have wonderful discussions together, and they value their time here. There is a real sense of community I have seen build here.”