Some Frequently Asked Questions About our Ministry
What is The Spartanburg Soup Kitchen?
We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit entity focused on ministering to the less fortunate in our community by providing food and social services. We are open at lunchtime 365 days a year; and serve between 350 and 500 guests per day. We operate by the generous contributions of a broad set of financial and food donors including local and national companies, individuals, churches, schools, and other private and public organizations.
As is stated explicitly in our bylaws, “The Spartanburg Soup Kitchen, Inc. was formed and continues to operate as a Christian ministry.” We seek to execute our ministry in a manner consistent with Christian teaching. Founded in 1982 in the kitchen of the Second Presbyterian Church of Spartanburg, South Carolina; the Spartanburg Soup Kitchen moved out of the Second Presbyterian building in 2012 and we remain proud of our church-centered heritage.
How important is ministry to the Spartanburg Soup Kitchen’s mission?
Very. Anyone who enters the Soup Kitchen will immediately notice that we seek to be a Christ-centered organization by the words and emblems on our walls and, ideally, by the actions and words of our volunteers. More importantly, our bylaws state that our Executive Director and Board cannot pursue any mission, endorsement, or activity that would serve to contradict our Christian ministry.
Ours is a ministry focused on many people with myriad needs. It is our desire to “preach the gospel , and if necessary, to use words.”
Who are your volunteers, and what do they do?
We have a fantastic base of volunteer groups that work in the kitchen on consistent bases. They are from local churches, schools, businesses, and other organizations. A typical group is comprised of a core with a leader, and will have other volunteers who will serve infrequently. Our volunteers cook, clean, serve, and generally run the place along with the SSK staff.
We also have a large number of individuals who volunteer at the kitchen. On any given day, individual volunteers may join us and help us pursue our mission. Occasionally, we allow volunteers to work in the kitchen who are completing court mandated community service; and we maintain relationships with local government to manage these relationships.
How do you screen your volunteers?
Aside from screening out known violent offenders in our community service program, we make no attempts to screen our individual volunteers. We invite everyone in the community to help us with our mission because feeding the hungry is an act of human compassion not just religion or ideology. We do maintain standards of behavior and service based on the dignity of all people whom we serve.
Who are your guests?
Our guests come from many walks of life. Typically they are financially poor. They are of all races, ages, family situations, and life profiles. They have their hunger in common.
Do you screen your guests?
No. All are welcome.