Many people have asked how the City of Troy is lucky enough to have a state of the art soup kitchen in its small, caring community. It really started with a kind heart, a big vision, and a thousand dollars.
Here is a little glimpse of what it really took to start this incredible mission that has served over 425,000 meals to the wonderful people in our community.
In early 1994, the Agape Church, located at the corner of S. Mulberry Street and Canal Street, was serving free meals Monday through Friday. Richard Steineman wanted to make sure that those in need also had access to free meals on the weekends. He approached the Saint Patrick Parish Council about the possibility of serving free weekend meals at the former childcare building on the church property. He presented a plan to serve weekend meals from 12:00 - 1:00, but the Parish Council was reluctant to take on a new ministry that would require church funds to operate.
This is where the thousand-dollar dream turned into a 21-year ministry that is still thriving! An offer was made to put $1,000 in a soup kitchen account to start the ministry and when the money ran out, the ministry would close its doors. Twenty-one guests were served the first meal on July 26, 1996. Within six months, 35 guests a day were being served a nourishing meal, the bank account had grown to $10,000, and the food pantry was stocked.
The weekend meal ministry continued until October of 1999. When Agape Ministries closed their soup kitchen, Mayor Pete Jenkins approached Richard Steineman to see if he could help pick up the slack. Well, if you know Richard Steineman at all, you know his answer was “YES!”. The Saint Patrick Soup Kitchen began serving meals seven days a week.
419 East Main Street - Our location from 1998 - 2014
In February of 1998, the church asked us to move the kitchen from 16 New Street to 419 East Main Street. The church was planning to build a new parish center on the New Street site. The Saint Patrick Soup Kitchen operated out of the Main Street location until January of 2014.
On December 18, 2012, the Saint Patrick Soup Kitchen received an announcement that would change its impact on the community for years to come. The Saint Patrick Soup Kitchen was here to stay! Mr. Steven Lucas from ITW called and announced that ITW was giving the ministry $330,000 to find a new location to build a new facility, and we officially became a 501(c)(3) charity.
From that life changing moment, until the Saint Patrick Soup Kitchen was operational inside the new Hobart Community Kitchen, we were blessed with many generous donations of money and time. The Hobart Community Kitchen, home of the St. Patrick Soup Kitchen would call 25 North Mulberry Street its new home. ITW donated all of the stainless-steel appliances and sent their kitchen engineer to help design the kitchen. It was as if manna was falling from the heavens to help us build the new facility.
The doors officially opened at the kitchen on January 19, 2014, and 89 guests enjoyed a delicious meal. The first year in the new location, we served 25,387 meals. When we celebrate the 22nd anniversary of the St. Patrick Soup Kitchen on July 26, 2018, we will have served over 430,000 meals! We are currently in our fifth year at our new location and with the generosity of our community, we are truly able to fulfill the mission statement that was created almost 22 years ago. “In accordance with the gospel message, St. Patrick Soup Kitchen serves all who are hungry. It makes no difference whether seeking food for the body, soul or spirit, they will all be fed”.
Other outreach ministries and fun facts that have a happened because of the Saint Patrick Soup Kitchen (i.e. Richard Steineman and Deb Grant)
the new Hobart Community kitchen
We approached the pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Piqua about the possibility of a need for a soup kitchen in Piqua. We helped organize, plan, and prepare for their opening on October 4, 1998 in the basement of the Methodist Church. Later, with the help of Benny Scott Sr. (owner of the locally owned McDonalds) they bought the old South Street Elementary school and relocated the soup kitchen. They presently serve meals four days a week.
We reached out to the pastor at Holy Angels Church in Sidney. On November 15, 1999, we opened a soup kitchen at the Agape Center in downtown Sidney. They presently serve three meals a week.
In 2003, we partnered with Richard’s Chapel on McKaig Ave to open a Monday-Thursday (12:00-1:00) lunch. We continued this partnership until January 2012.
In 2008, we partnered with Pastor Rich Baker to begin serving meals every Saturday from 12:00-1:00 at Kennedy Hall in the Terrace Ridge apartment complex. Presently (2018) Mary Nielsen does the Saturday meals and they serve 100 guests.
Susan Calvert began volunteering at the soup kitchen in 2009. By October 2010, she began cooking meals in her home to deliver to the needy in our community the last Sunday of every month. She started with 17 meals in 2010 and it has grown to over 440 meals a month in 2018.
Our first Christmas Day dinner was in 1996 and we served 96 guests. This past Christmas (2017), we delivered 1,603 meals to the residents in Miami County.
In October 1996, the El Sombrero restaurant located on W. Main Street burned down. We partnered with El Sombrero restaurant and helped Ruben continue his free traditional Thanksgiving dinner at our soup kitchen in 1996 and 1997. By January 1998, Ruben had purchased and restarted his new restaurant at 1700 N. County Rd. 25-A.
In August 1999, Ruth Groff, a beautician from Shear-Magic Salon, and her staff began to come in once a month and cut our guests’ hair. They continued this service until 2012. Currently (2018) Giacomo’s Hair Salon comes once a month to cut our guests’ hair.
In 2000, Ruth Jenkins, a nurse, began coming to the soup kitchen to take our guests blood pressure and do health screenings. She continued to do this for a few years. Currently (2018) we have Health Partners coming in the last Wednesday of every month to do health screening, etc. for our guests.
Miami County Dental Clinic has now spent the last seven weeks (March 2018-May 2018) at the soup kitchen. They have been performing exams, cleaning, filling, etc. They were here once about three years ago. They have been wonderful!