Susan Ransom helped begin the First Presbyterian Church Soup Kitchen to provide meals to disadvantaged community members. Ransom has been a coordinator of the Saturday soup kitchen since 2006.
“I gather volunteers to help out on Saturdays and take care of inventory and make sure we have plenty of supplies to prepare healthy meals for people in need,” Ransom said.
Ransom works a full-time job, but explained how her volunteer work requires a similar level of effort but is completely worth it. The First Presbyterian Church Soup Kitchen provides meals to homeless community members, community members with fixed incomes, and many other community members that are in need of assistance.
“It is well worth the effort to volunteer to help people and make sure that they are fed because there are a lot of people that are struggling—not just the homeless,” Ransom said. “A free meal now and then helps them out with their lifestyle. There are so many people out there that are hungry and sometimes people come to the soup kitchen just to be with people.”
The soup kitchen helps with more than providing meals. It provides a place for people to come together, socialize, and form connections. During COVID-19, the soup kitchen provided takeout, but the dine-in option reopened in November, and those connections are beginning again.
“We're working on trying to make it better for the community,” Ransom said. “Even though there's a lot of homeless people, there are a lot of lonely elderly people that just want to get out and see friendly faces.”
Volunteers of the soup kitchen, including Ransom, work to ensure all of the people that come in are taken care of. The support they provide helps community members of all ages.
“It's important to make sure that people are taken care of. Even if it's only an hour and a half of service, we know that they're at least getting a meal each day,” Ransom said. “It breaks my heart to see the many people that walk on the streets and then they are starving for attention and affection. It's not just adults that are sad and suffering, it's children, too.”
Helping a little bit goes a long way. Ransom explained she can tell all the community members are extremely appreciative when they receive the meals the volunteers prepare. Ransom also explained she would not be able to provide the support she does without the time and effort of the other volunteers.
“The soup kitchen is not a one-person job,” Ransom said. “It takes many people to cook food and to serve the soup kitchen. I couldn't do any of this if I didn't have the many volunteers and people helping and supporting me in doing the soup kitchen. It's a wonderful feeling to be helping people and giving a part of myself to make things a little bit easier for people.”
For more information regarding the First Presbyterian Church Soup Kitchen, please visit the website here.