The Soup Kitchen dishes up healthy lunches

06B10596-DC89-41AB-850C-285A1D
 
We thank thee Lord
For happy hearts
For rain and sunny weather.
We thank thee Lord
For this food
And that we are together.


by Helen Armstrong Straub
From Bless This Food by Adrian Butash

Norristown Meeting together with the First Presbyterian Church provides home-made nutritious meals to those in need on the third Thursday of every month. The group meets to prepare lunch at Cecil and Grace Bean Soup Kitchen, Inc. Our menu, taking advantage of seasonal produce where possible, varies throughout the year, with soups typical in cold weather and salads in the warm months, supplemented by sandwiches, fruit and other items. During the pandemic, meals are packaged and served 'to go'. 

To learn more about St. John's Episcopal Church and the services they provide click here.

History of the Soup Kitchen

The Soup Kitchen was initially held at Trinity Lutheran Church on DeKalb Pike. It was established in the 1980's by Norristown Ministries after recognizing an issue of food insecurity. To ensure there would be a meal for each day of the week, several local groups pitched in. Norristown Meeting partnered with First Presbyterian Church to provide lunch on the third Thursday of the month.

Trinity Lutheran Church moved out of Norristown and St. John's Episcopal Church offered the use of their kitchen and dining area. Local stores were canvassed to provide donations of day-old bread and desserts. St. John's members served meals on Tuesday and Saturdays. The organization became incorporated in the late 1990's by Cecil and Grace Bean. They provided leadership by successfully applying for grants and donations to extend the functionality of the kitchen. They were able to purchase a walk-in freezer, stove hood, ice machine and dishwasher among many other items. Sadly, Grace passed away just recently. The organization continues to provide support to groups that do the cooking at St. John's. 
 

Norristown Ministries Inc. History

Norristown Ministries Inc. is a group of religious leaders comprised of local Catholic, Protestant and Jewish congregations who came together in the 1980's to address issues of the poor and homeless, addicts and mentally ill who roamed the streets in Norristown. They often panhandled, slept outside in public places and asked business owners, public workers and local pastors for food, money, medicine and other items they needed. The community ministries were successful in forming the following organizations:

1982 - The Thursday Soup Kitchen now located at St. John's Episcopal Church
1983 - The Men's Overnight Shelter now located in the Coordinated Homeless Outreach Center (CHOC) on the grounds of Norristown State Hospital
1984 - The Norristown Literacy Council, located in First Presbyterian Church building
1990 - The local chapter of Habitat for Humanity, which is now Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County
1992 -  The Hospitality Center which provides a place during the day for the poor and homeless to gather

The Hospitality Center's staff and volunteers provides shelter, breakfast, lockers, shower, phone, fax, copies, mail, notary and referrals to Care Colleagues in the community who provide personalized care for individuals.
Click here to learn more about the Hospitality Center.
 
Marguerite Hayes, 4/25/2020