4 soup kitchens open in past year, dishing out help to the hungry

achristnovich@islandpacket.comJanuary 16, 2012 

  • Four soup kitchens have opened in southern Beaufort County through the Hunger and Homeless Coalition, and one more is planned. They serve from noon to 1 p.m. on the following days and locations:

  • Campbell Church Soup Kitchen: Wednesdays, 25 Boundary St., Bluffton.

  • Grateful Hearts Soup Kitchen: Mondays and Wednesdays, Holy Family Catholic Church, 24 Pope Ave., Hilton Head.

  • St. Andrew By-the-Sea United Methodist Church: Fridays, 20 Pope Ave., Hilton Head.

  • Resurrection Christian Community Church: Wednesdays, 296 Spanish Wells Road, Hilton Head Island.

  • St. James Baptist Church Community Soup Kitchen: Thursdays, starting in late January or early February, 209 Beach City Road, Hilton Head.

The rain was falling hard but the spirits of about 30 volunteers and coordinators were high as they prepared for the opening of the Campbell Church Soup Kitchen.

It's the first soup kitchen in Bluffton, joining three others on Hilton Head Island, started within the past year thanks to the Hunger and Homeless Coalition. The local nonprofit coalition works with churches and local organizations to provide food and shelter for those in need. It plans to open another soup kitchen in late January or early February on Hilton Head.

The kitchens are run by volunteers and provide a few hot dishes, loaves of bread, and fruits and vegetables for homeless, low-income or just plain hungry people.

"We don't turn anyone away," said volunteer trainer Freddie Hodges, dubbed "the soup kitchen queen" by fellow coordinator Linda Ellis.

Grateful Hearts Soup Kitchen at Holy Family Catholic Church, the first kitchen opened by the coalition, served 18 people at its inaugural lunch, Hodges said, and now serves 80 to 100 people on Wednesdays and 40 to 60 on Mondays. Some of the same people can be seen at every location throughout the week.

At Wednesday's opening of the Campbell Church Soup Kitchen, Phyllis Johnson and Elizabeth Brown got plates wrapped for takeout piled with cornbread, homemade macaroni and cheese, and salad. As they waited for the rain to slow, they couldn't resist a few bites.

Both came from shelling oysters at Bluffton Oyster Co., where workers are paid by the gallon of shelled oysters and workers set their own schedules, according to co-owner Tina Toomer.

The women made a point to come when they heard their friend Katie Givens was head chef.

"Katie," Johnson said between bites, "can cook."

In all, six people came to eat. Hodges and Ellis had hoped for more but attributed the dreary weather and the newness of the service to the lower turnout.

Ida Martin, founder of Bluffton Self Help, hopes to reverse that.

"I'm going to get fliers in Spanish," she said. "This is about getting the word out and getting people together."

The soup kitchens get food from Bluffton Self Help and volunteer donations, Ellis said.

"It has created bonds with different types of people," Hodges said. "It's a beautiful thing that happens when you serve others."

Follow reporter Anne Christnovich at twitter.com/BlufftonBlogIP.

Related content:

Coalition wants homelessness issue more visible

Bluffton Self Help caps year of changes by helping more people than ever

The Island Packet is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service