Thanks to an idea that came out of a prayer group, Union County is getting its first mobile kitchen. And its mission was tested the very first weekend more than anyone expected.
Called “Union County Soup for the Soul” Mobile Kitchen, its creation has been led by Harmony Baptist Church Pastor Gary Yates.
This is something the area apparently has not had before and organizers believe it will serve a need.
“We had no money at all so we started praying,” Yates said. “In no time we had $8,100.”
The group used $7,200 to purchase a trailer, then get a griddle. A stove was donated next and Master-Bilt gave them a freezer to store food in.
Partly for convenience, the mobile soup kitchen is being run out of the Union County Baptist Association because they have a facility and organization.
“But it is not denominational,” Yates emphasized.
Details are still being worked out but the soup kitchen will probably go to areas where poverty is more of a problem, and to areas where some disaster has occurred.
This past Saturday as a sort of christening of the service, the mobile kitchen was at the Agape free health clinic on North Street from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Yates said that despite the rainy weather they served 91 beef stew and rice places for lunch and 50 sausage and biscuit breakfasts. Since they were at the clinic they provided lunch for the volunteers there and volunteers including youths from West Tallahatchie Church and others walked around the neighborhood carrying meals to residents.
After learning of the tornado damage at Hamilton, Yates said they took the mobile kitchen there Sunday morning and provided meals for victims and workers all day. They returned to help more Monday and Yates said some of those they fed had lost everything in the storm.
Yates said they plan to take the soup kitchen out on the third Saturday of each month, and more often as needed. In May they will be in Myrtle, either at the town park or apartments.
For now, cash or food donations can be made through the Union County Baptist Association but Yates said they are working on becoming a 501(c)3 organization to be able to accept tax-deductible donations directly.
They also have applied to be part of the Mid-South Food Bank, which will help with food supplies. “Also, we may be able to cross county lines and, for example, go into Benton County,” Yates said.
The mobile soup kitchen is being staffed by volunteers, much like the free clinic.
For information or to contribute to Soup for the Soul, you may call the Union County Baptist Association at 662-534-3940, located at 845 Sam T. Barkley Dr., or call pastor Yates directly at 662-266-0139.
“We just want help in getting the word out about this,” he said.