The Greer Soup Kitchen
By: David & Beth Lyda (From: Volume 1 - Issue 1)
As board member, Nancy Webb, would agree, your life is the only Bible some people read. This true and sometimes frightening description is clearly illustrated in a positive light by the volunteers at the Greer Soup Kitchen.
Located in downtown Greer, the Kitchen is part of Daily Bread Ministries, a non-profit organization. A burden for the hungry in their community led a group of citizens to establish the Soup Kitchen in 1990.
Before constructing their modern day dining facility, the Soup Kitchen had a few other homes, including a Boy Scout hut behind New Jerusalem Baptist Church in Greer that they rented for a dollar a year. On their first day of operations, only one meal was served, but by 2010 five thousand people were being served a month.
The operations manager of almost two years, Martha O’Neal, is quick to point out that they are not run by a church but by God. With that fact in mind, you can easily see how God is blessing the obedience of all the volunteers. They strive to not only feed the stomach but feed the soul.
Many may find it surprising what a broad range of people are being served here. You will find the homeless here, but you can also see the family whose father just got laid off, the business man whose wife suddenly left with all of his money, or just the hungry mouths that just can’t quite make ends meet on part time jobs. The Greer Soup Kitchen does not discriminate the people who need help, and they don’t even ask why the people are there.
This compassion for the needy is John 13:34 brought to life! “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” Many of the homeless, drug addicts, alcoholics, and poor are usually shunned in the world and are often viewed as untouchables. They are our modern day lepers.
God loves us, and He commands that we love others. Volunteers make sure that the people know that they are valued. They make sure that these “untouchables” are touched through a hug, and that they are encouraged and prayed for.
All food and operations expenses come from the support of the community, churches, businesses, individuals, and most importantly God. No government assistance is even provided for the Kitchen. Other than just donations, the Kitchen also has their own garden that grows a variety of vegetables.
Lunch is served Monday through Saturday. On Sunday, the people are treated to a light breakfast followed by an afternoon supper. Many different types of meals are served. Although this can depend on what type of food is on hand, this is no “soup and sandwich” place. Often, people even get to go back for seconds of such tasty fare as BBQ beef hash, Hoppin’ John, and beef stew.
The hungry are also treated to special meals on Holidays and through sponsored lunches. Many times restaurants have leftover food that would normally go to waste. Some businesses, such as Long Johns Silvers and Pizza Hut, freeze these leftovers until a large quantity has been gathered. These special donated meals can be a bit different than what is usually offered at the Kitchen, because their facility is not stocked with any kind of deep fryer.