Rose Bronk was inspired by a Bible passage in the Gospel of Matthew:
I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. Truly, I say to you, whatever you did for one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.
In 1995, inspired by this Bible passage, Rose and her husband Walter started St. Paul’s Soup Kitchen at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Lowell. They began serving dinner one night a week and it quickly became two. Food was purchased at the Lowell Food Bank and cooked at St. Paul’s. The Pastor at St. Paul’s spoke with the Interfaith Council of Lowell and explained that the Soup Kitchen was successfully providing meals for the working poor, elderly and families in the community. Other churches were interested in helping with the preparation and serving of meals and the service increased to three days a week with twelve churches participating. Every work day of the month was covered by a different church because the City Manager was aware of the good work of St. Paul’s Soup Kitchen he asked them to provide meals five days a week to take pressure off the Transitional Center.
There are currently 16 different groups participating, including congregations from the Methodist, Catholics, Episcopal, Presbyterians, Islamic Society of Lowell, and several non-denominational churches. There are two companies who participate in the meals and donate Christmas gifts: The Chowder Factory & Avoqua Corp. Additionally, the soup kitchen gets support from private individuals and churches who donate clothing, toiletries and coats.
In 2013, St. Paul’s Soup Kitchen served 33,130 meals. The Kitchen is open from 3 pm to 6 pm and the meal is served from 5-6 pm, Monday through Friday. Each church or organization who hosts a meal night is responsible for bringing the food, setting up the meal, serving and cleaning up. If you want to learn more please see the church and organization list to make contact with the volunteer coordinator at that church for information. Please call the church or organization to find out the contact person or more information about their needs pertaining to their meal night. Please check out our schedule.
The Soup Kitchen funds their program by a generous grant called the CBDG grant and donations by individuals and fund raisers. Our biggest fund raiser takes place in November at the Bunting Club in Lowell. It’s a live & silent auction, 50/50 raffle with great music and food. Please check out our upcoming events.
The future of the St. Paul’s Soup Kitchen is bright. A second location is being explored so Rose and Walter can serve even more people. There is a very committed board of ten individuals who are volunteers who run St. Paul’s Soup Kitchen. There is one paid employee who makes sure the food is served properly and smoothly. People of the community of Lowell have come to depend on Rose and the St. Paul’s Soup Kitchen to provide healthy meals to sustain them through their difficult situations whatever they may be.
To donate send cash or checks to P.O. Box 2257, Lowell, MA 01851