With cold weather and the holiday season approaching, St. Mary’s Soup Kitchen is in need of clothing for its clothing ministry and volunteers to serve food to the homeless during the weekday.
St. Mary’s Soup Kitchen is the longest-running, continuous-operating soup kitchen in the United States. In operation since 1870 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in downtown Memphis, the soup kitchen opens its doors to the homeless and impoverished six days a week, 52 weeks a year.
Monday through Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., the soup kitchen offers a safe place for the homeless to gather and receive both physical and spiritual nourishment. The soup kitchen serves coffee, pastries, a hearty soup with protein and vegetables, sandwiches and a snack along with smiles, greetings and spiritual music.
Additionally, St. Mary’s Soup Kitchen operates a clothing ministry every Saturday morning. Each person who receives food can choose one complete outfit including: a pair of pants, one shirt, a jacket or coat (if available), underwear, socks and a pair of shoes.
Last year, the charitable organization served 60,000 meals and provided 18,000 complete outfits for the homeless and impoverished.
According to Martin Johnson, director of homeless ministries for St. Mary’s Soup Kitchen, the soup kitchen is in need of clothing for the homeless such as men’s coats, jackets, sweaters, sweat shirts, thermals, gloves and shoes.
Personal hygiene items, such as travel-size soaps, shampoos, toothbrushes and toothpaste, are needed as well.
“When there is a cold snap like we had several weeks ago, we have a need for warm clothing,” Johnson said. “The homeless move around and don’t stay in the same place. They will lose items somewhere along the way. During the winter months, we are always in need of clothing.”
The soup kitchen is in need of volunteers to serve food, chop vegetables and clean up the kitchen during the weekdays from 6:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. All volunteers can sign up directly from the soup kitchen’s website, www.stmaryssoupkitchen.org.
St. Mary’s Soup Kitchen serves 1,200 meals each week to not only the homeless, but also to the impoverished living in the surrounding area. Johnson and Ron Bezon have been operating the soup kitchen together since 2011. You can read more on why this ministry has made a difference in their lives, as well as the impact St. Mary’s Soup Kitchen has made on those they serve in the upcoming December issue of Faith West Tennessee.