The Story of St. Paul’s Soup Kitchen
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. (Matthew 25:31-40)
In 1995, inspired by this Bible passage, the late Rose Bronk and her husband Walter, with their fellow St. Paul’s United Methodist Church member, the late Jane Watkins, started St. Paul’s Soup Kitchen at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, in Lowell. They began serving dinner one night a week and quickly moved to two nights using food from the Lowell Food Bank and cooking it at St. Paul’s.
The pastor at St. Paul’s shared the Soup Kitchen’s success of providing meals for the working poor, elderly and families in the community with the Interfaith Council of Lowell. 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.
In 2005, the parish of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church closed. The Soup Kitchen was relocated to its current location inside the Eliot Church on Summer Street in Lowell.
At the request of the Lowell City Manager, service was expanded to five days a week, to assist the Lowell Transitional Living Center. Rose put out the call, and soon every weekday of the month was covered by a different organization. Currently 16 churches, businesses and nonprofit organizations provide and serve meals to our guests.