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Calvary Soup Kitchen upgrades appliances, serves much more than food

In three years of serving meals, Calvary Baptist Soup Kitchen has gone from feeding five people to feeding up to 150 in the former parsonage beside the church on E. Third.

“It has been a test of faith and perseverance to keep the soup kitchen going,” said Peggie Troutt, founder and manager.

Calvary Soup Kitchen
Peggie Trout, Calvary Baptist Soup Kitchen

It operates entirely with volunteers who donate their time and funds.  Volunteers include church members, church auxiliaries, family members, elementary through high school students, college students and the community.

Since opening, she estimates the kitchen has fed 12,000 hot meals to their “honored guests”: homeless people and anyone who wants a hot meal.

While the church’s kitchen was the base of cooking for the program, the kitchen in the house was in poor condition. 

“The stove blew out.  The dishwasher wasn’t working right.  The sinks were too small to function in the overflow kitchen.  We needed more storage space because we were growing so fast.  We needed ceiling fans, because it’s hot in the summer,” Peggie said.

So Diane Zakopyko, a volunteer who formerly was a cook at Shadle Park High School, put together a list of what was needed so the community could donate to help upgrade the equipment.

The kitchen needed a new stove, a range hood, a dishwasher, a refrigerator and flooring.

David Troyke, a member of Rotary Club 21, came to visit the soup kitchen one day, saw the need and encouraged the organizers to write a grant.

Diane priced what was needed, and she and Peggie submitted a grant.  Peggie gave a presentation to the Rotary 21 Community Civic Action Committee.  Rotary 21 provided a grant of $2,500 to upgrade the kitchen in order to make food preparation, serving and cleaning up easier for volunteers.  A security screen door will also be replaced. 

“Many people in the community have come forth to help as a result of the article in The Fig Tree when we started,” said Peggie.

Each Saturday, when it serves from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the soup kitchen needs five servers and three kitchen workers.

Betty Dumas, assistant manager, said, “We pray, and God sends people.”

At a Mission Catalyst Conference at Calvary Chapel, she recently appealed for volunteers, and several offered to help.

Volunteers also include Moody Bible School students and Fairchild Air Force Base troops.

“Most want to serve, because servers can to talk with the people,” Peggie said.  “Those working in the kitchen need a food handler’s permit if they want to cook on a regular basis.”

Both she and Betty have permits, and one of them is always there to be sure the food is prepared properly, people cover their heads and hands, the food is the right temperature, and food handlers observe other requirements.

Most who come are homeless people from Third and Division.  Some are elderly people in apartments who run low on food and want to be with others.  Others just come for the fellowship.

“The person who serves and listens to them may be the only friendly person with a smile they meet,” Peggie said.

Volunteers do more than serve and cook.  Some help clean and reorganize the pantry on Fridays.

“It’s a blessing for our church,” said Peggie.  “More members are beginning to give food and volunteer.  Members are proud Calvary is stepping out to help homeless people and transients downtown.”

The Calvary Baptist Church’s Women’s Ministry oversees the soup kitchen, running it without tapping into the church budget.  Members and the community are generous, said Peggie.

Sometimes when people at share about their lives and problems, a server asks people to pray for that person.  Sometimes it’s the first step to access more help.

One woman was depressed when she came, but after talking to a volunteer server who is a counselor she left smiling.

One elderly woman has no teeth.  When she comes, the cooks blend the food so she can eat it.

Another guest comes regularly, except when he goes to Seattle for chemotherapy.  So people pray for him when he goes.

For information, call 624-5433 or email

Copyright © January 2013 - The Fig Tree