How To Start A Soup Kitchen?
If you believe in serving the underprivileged(the homeless) especially the low-income group of the society and have the impetus to do some social work towards nourishing their needs, then setting up a soup kitchen might just give your initiatives and interests a shot in the arm. Because; you provide these people with one of the bare necessities of life- food (healthy and hygienic) for free. So, how to start a soup kitchen?
Let’s go back in history to take a short peek at how the soup kitchen came into being?
The concept of soup kitchen started during the depression –era in the USA, when un-employment and under-employment had struck with vengeance leaving many an American below the poverty line. The soup kitchens were mainly run by churches during those days.
Although the number of soup kitchens have declined over the last few decades, there are still a few operating in the metros of the United States serving more than the then considered economical soup and bread.
If you want to know as to how to start a soup kitchen and give the hand of humanity to your community here are a few pointers on how to go about it.
• Get yourself registered as a non-profit organization, and for this get in touch with the charity registration office of your state to know about the paper work involved in registering as a NPO(an NPO also becomes eligible for government grants and other aids).
• Once you are registered, you will need funding to start a soup kitchen. You could gather information on application for federal or government grants from community college or non profit resource centers, who would be able to outline the various modes of applications for grants such as the statement of purpose. You could also get in touch with business professionals and other organizations who would help you fund the cause.
• After the legal process of initiation, you need to look out for a venue for the soup kitchen. The venue chosen should be easily accessible for the people whom you intend to serve. Because the needy cannot afford the cost of traveling to a distant soup kitchen.
• The next step on how to start a soup kitchen is that of publicity. Starting a soup kitchen is a community oriented initiative, so a press-release or TV announcement will bring awareness about an upcoming soup kitchen. This will also help you garner donations, and attract volunteers at the same time.
• The soup kitchen is all about food, nourishing the needy. So how to look for food-resources, and keep your soup kitchen operating on all four cylinders? You could tie-up with local restaurants and food-joints who would be willing to donate their excess food to your kitchen.
• You need volunteers to get your soup-kitchen functioning in full swing. Volunteers who would be ready to prepare meals on large-scale and distribute. They can also help by collecting food resources or spearheading initiatives for raising donations and even spread the word about the activities of your soup kitchen.
• Start a chain by linking with other non-profit organizations, which are into such initiatives of helping the needy and homeless. You could collaborate on a larger scale to have a larger reach to the mass by contacting the program directors of such organizations who would be more than willing to lend a helping hand. This will kickstart your zeal on how to start a soup kitchen as you would also be able to raise funds for your cause.
Some community-based organizations conduct events, which are need-specific. So before you start any community program in your area make sure you deliver services which are unique and are not already in operation.
This way, initiatives such as starting a soup kitchen can reach out genuinely for those in need and make a difference it intends to make.
Photo Courtesy : philanthromedia.org