Thursday, December 3, 2009
The Soup Man
By Guest Blogger Beth Shriver
This Thanksgiving my family was honored to meet the Soup Man. You could interchange it with Superman in my opinion. This man, with an army of helpers, serves six hundred meals a day to the homeless, five days a week. Thanksgiving is no different except the menu is changed. Turkey with all the sides including spice cake was served and there was a little extra for some to have seconds. We all like a full stomach on Thanksgiving, so did the homeless we served that day.
I met David Timothy, aka the Soup Man, through doing volunteer work. When David found out I was a writer he asked me to edit a book he’d written titled, Is God on Vacation? One Man’s Mission to Feed the Homeless. David thought he would learn from me but I learned more from him after reading his story. Having gone through the pain of hunger as a child David was driven to help those in need and so created The Soup Mobile, a van loaded up with food and another with tables to set up a food line.
I watched the reactions of my family as David explained our task for the day. “We have two missions today. The second is to feed the hungry. The first is to show them love.” David’s motto is to; feed his sheep, literally as well as showing care and concern. He explained that so many of us look the other way when we see a homeless person. And if we do interact we don’t want to shake their hand or look them in the eye. But that’s what they need most, respect and dignity, the very thing that has been taken from them and is a factor that keeps them from working their way off the streets.
My daughter has a passion for the needs of people and has gone with me on many of my mission projects. She’s never met a stranger and talked to everyone she met that day with no hesitation. My son has a heart of gold but isn’t as comfortable talking with strangers so I was touched to hear him respond with kind words to the people he was handing out clothes and toys to. My husband is a salesman so no problem with the interaction, but I didn’t know if he really wanted to go. But on the way home all of them had a story to tell or a person that especially moved them as they served. Like Lawanda, who sang with raised hands and praised the Lord for their food. Or Mr. Coltrane from New Orleans, ninety-six years of age and still plays the keyboard like he did as a young man playing the Blues in Louisiana. And then there was Mack, who lived on the street for fifteen years and is now a member of the Soup Man’s team. We had a good laugh talking about the Rocky theme music that blared from speakers on the vans as we drove up, letting everyone know we had arrived.
We were ‘starved’ when we got home late that afternoon; ironically we were hungry while feeding the homeless. It never felt better to have an empty stomach to feed. http://soupmobile.org/