It began (like many scathingly brilliant ideas) as a short conversation in the hallway at Song and Spirit. Bro. Al was carrying a large can of powdered chicken bouillon and stopped for a moment to talk about a new initiative he had in mind.
"Chicken soup for the hungry!" he said with great enthusiasm.
He continued, "A fellow I used to work with downtown found a recipe that uses canned chicken and chicken bouillon and we just have to add water, noodles and a little seasonings and we're good to go."
"Don't we have friends at area synagogues who might want to pitch in to make"real" chicken soup? Who better to make chicken soup than our Jewish friends! All the Temples have such active Social Action committees and Teen Youth Groups - maybe they'd like to pitch in?"
Within hours, we had firm commitments from two area Temples with whom we had worked on many other projects. Both were delighted to find volunteers of all ages who wanted to participate in making homemade soups of all kinds to help their neighbors in need.
So nearly every week - for more than 4 months now - Song and Spirit picks up 5-gallon containers of hot, homemade soup made by volunteers at Congregation Shir Tikvah in Troy and Temple Emanu-El in Oak Park. (A third Temple is coming on board soon!)
Outreach Coordinator, Greg Allen, works tirelessly with Bro. Al to deliver the huge, heavy pots to area shelters struggling to find enough to feed lunch to the many in our area who are in need.
And Greg never ceases to be amazed at the sincere gratitude of those he serves. "You know," he said after returning from a soup run on a frigid, winter afternoon, "All they had to offer for lunch today at the shelter was a single hotdog on a bun, and then we came in with five gallons of piping hot soup. Honestly, I don't know who was more excited - the people who got to serve the soup or the people who got to eat it."
He paused, thinking, "Then again - maybe it was ME!"
What's so important about having an Outreach program at the Song and Spirit Institute for Peace? We allow everyday people the opportunity to act as the hands of God - and they become people who make a difference in the world.