The Soup Kitchen of Muncie helps other organizations by providing hot meals.

Providing meals to more than those who come to our door.

By Lynn Witty

The Soup Kitchen of Muncie affects many people. You can see it up close and personal when you drive past the soup kitchen during serving hours. There are also many volunteers behind the scenes that you don’t see that deserve credit. Two places you may not realize are affected routinely by Soup Kitchen volunteers and meals are the residents of the YWCA in Muncie and the Muncie Recovery Café. I’d like to tell you a little bit about the organizations and what the Soup Kitchen does for them.

The YWCA, as many of you know, is an emergency shelter for women suffering through domestic abuse, and those in desperate need of help with housing for themselves, and on occasion, their children. This population is varied but most can use a little assistance.

“We started getting help several years ago at the start of the COVID pandemic, when the Soup Kitchen started supplying hot meals at lunch period.  They actually went so far as to deliver the meals to the YWCA while were we on lockdown for some time due to COVID.  Our residents would also get a sack lunch to eat later.“ relayed Katie Bitterman, director of the emergency shelter.

Katie Bitterman, emregency shelter program director, YWCA

She has been there to see what an effect this has on residents. “They all anxiously await their lunch. One of the great things about the delicious food they get is it is also a well-balanced, healthy meal,” which is frequently unknown to their residents, and is necessary for their improved outcome and notable health disparities. They’re supplied with protein, vegetables, and fruit.

Food arrives Monday through Fridays and all the residents relate their appreciation for the meal, as well as how good they taste. Having a sack lunch to take with them is also security for them and their health needs. Spaghetti has been mentioned as one of their favorite meals, but there have been no complaints about any of the meals that arrive warm and ready to serve. Katie reiterated how much this means to the residents, as well as the staff, to know that they’re getting a healthy warm meal.

A hot balanced meal .

The sack lunches are always a favorite with peanut butter and Jelly, or bologna sandwiches with chips and a dessert. I also heard Ham and Beans are the favorite of the maintenance director. They rarely have leftovers, but these can always be found in the refrigerator if there are any .

The Soup Kitchen of Muncie also works with The Recovery Café.  The Recovery Café on Charles St, downtown Muncie, has been open over a year now. It has grown in size and in heart working with, and for, those in recovery. In fact, the group considers itself family. That’s the way they can make it through difficult days. They can also celebrate together.

High on their lists of needs is a nice warm meal on many occasions. This is furnished by the Soup Kitchen on the weekdays they’re open, Wednesday and Friday from 11 to 3. They are also open on Saturday and rotate various options for food on the weekend. Several of the members couldn’t pick a favorite meal. They said they were all good and I’ve noticed they are similar to the YWCA- they are all nutritious meals. The day I was there they had sack lunches which certainly made eating more mobile when they’re on the move.

Partial group photo in the Recovery Café with Chef Dewayne, BSU Social Work intern, 2 Healthy Lifestyle Center students from Nutrition and IU School of Medicine, and part of the “family”.

The Recovery Cafe has a routine schedule that includes it’s social or educational hour from 11 to 12, and meditation and sharing time at noon, followed by lunch. I’ve always enjoyed my visits to the Recovery Café and meeting both returning and new people to the group.  Helping serve lunch is a pleasure – and it’s rare people aren’t back for seconds. Smiling faces in a food line is always a pick-me-up.  I also enjoyed participating in some Laugh-Out-Loud fun games and seeing puzzles and board games in various stages of completion while chatting over a nice warm meal.

The Soup Kitchen of Muncie obviously provides nutritious warm meals for the residents of the YWCA and the members of the Recovery Café family. But they also contribute to an atmosphere that includes camaraderie, discussion, and a full belly for energy to make progress on a Wellness journey and the next step in a hopefully improved outlook on life.