Our Lady of Lourdes’ Soup Kitchen coordinator Bill Thome has been serving more than just a meal to our neighborhood’s homeless and hungry every Wednesday evening for the past two decades.
“We refer to ourselves as the Soup Kitchen, but we’ve never served soup,” says Thome. “We provide a handmade meal with a vegetable, potato and meat. There’s also coffee, rolls and a dessert. We serve our guests like a restaurant does rather than cafeteriastyle. It’s intentionally been this way since the founders started the Soup Kitchen as a Lenten project back in 1980. They wanted people to come in, sit down, relax and be waited on like a human being, as a dignified person. It really means a lot to our guests.”
Having navigated his own life challenges a few years earlier, Bill returned to Our Lady of Lourdes and began volunteering with the Soup Kitchen in 1999.
“When I came back to the neighborhood and was looking for service opportunities, the Soup Kitchen let me wash their dishes and showed me how I could help others. It’s the opportunity to be of service to others that really gets me. This is my way of giving back some of the blessings God has given me. I got the chance to turn my life around, and I know that if I want to keep what God has given me, I have to give what I have to others.”
Over the course of his two decades feeding the hungry of our neighborhood, Bill has networked with other neighborhood and citywide organizations to expand upon the services the Soup Kitchen provides.
“We’ve been able to get a number of our elderly guests into housing, connect people with healthcare and help others with their food stamps. Maybe I can't change the world, but I can try to make things a little better for the people in my neighborhood. And I benefit as well. -- Bill Thome
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