In the beginning, the Capuchin Soup Kitchen offered a place to go for help for those who had nowhere else to go. One of the stories from the Depression involves a man who was walking down to the river to drown himself when he saw the line in front of the Soup Kitchen and stopped to ask what was going on. Someone told him there was a free meal, so he stood in a line that day and for many days afterward. Eventually, when theDepression was over, he got a job as a salesman and for a long time after that, donated $1,500 a year to the Soup Kitchen.
Over the years local farmers set aside plots of land for the Soup Kitchen and some even donated part of their crops in the fall. A volunteer named Ray McDonough organized the labor involved in the planting and picking of the crop. That included young men under legal jurisdiction. He also had help from men who came from the soup lines, and from his fellow employees at the Kennedy Dairy Company where he worked at night. For a time, the Capuchins raised beef on farmland belonging to Ed Roney, the ﬁrst president of the Charity Guild. During the civil disturbances of 1967, the Soup Kitchen was designated an emergency site by the city and two or three hundred bags of donated food were handed out every day. The food package program soon became a ministry in itself.
The Soup Kitchen has continued to expand according to the needs of the times. During the 70’s, the Capuchin Annex and Jefferson House were established. The Annex provided furniture and clothing to people who were referred by the Soup Kitchen counselors.
The Capuchin Soup Kitchen…Today
Currently, the Soup Kitchen serves an average of 2,000 meals a day from our Meldrum and Conner locations. In addition, the Capuchin Services Center monthly distributes thousands of articles of clothing, furniture and appliances, and tons of food for families to take home and prepare in their own kitchens. 25 to 30 people a day who have no other bathing facilities available, shower and receive a clean set of clothing at the Meldrum location. Tutoring and art therapy services for children are offered at the Conner facility. Jefferson House provides residential treatment services to men seeking to reclaim their lives from addictions. On the Rise Bakery trains returning citizens in baking techniques and life skills development. And Earthworks Urban Farm produces organic vegetables and offers hands-on instruction in urban farming.
4390 Conner Street, Detroit, MI 48215 Phone: 313.822.8606 831 1 EOST Jefferson Avenue, Detroit, Ml 48214 Phone: 313.331.8900