When the Casbah was a Place Called Home: Thursday Soup Kitchen

Nearly every Thursday evening, especially in the later years of the Casbah, we would all go down to Saint Andrew’s Church for free soup. For some it was a community event, for some it was awkward, for some it was simply food. But for most of us we would be there Thursday at 5:30 either way.

You have to eat, no matter how busy you are; and why not eat a free church cooked meal. They didn’t harass or pressure you with religion, but they did pressure you to take deserts and bread home.

Unlike the Wednesday soup kitchen that served lunch (which was significantly better quality soup) this soup kitchen had very few students come to it. We were often the youngest people there beyond the children helping out make and serve the soup.

The crowd was also always the same. There was one table that had all of the people from the retirement community, and scattered people at the other tables. The regular attendees I remember are: A bearded lady (who would occasionally trim it), a man who had a backpacking pack on and water bottle around his chest who looked as though he walked 20 miles to make it to this soup kitchen, an woman in her 40s who was going through tough times and every once and a while would work up the courage to sing at her table, Ed who looks like the hunchback of notre dame minus the hair who always hits on the ladies by saying he could never get with any of them.

You were allowed two bowls of soup, Majesty found this out the hard way when he tried to get a third. The soup flavors varied from good to horrible. Some came with sides and special toppings, others where simply there soup from the previous week shoved in a blender. And you always had the option of taking stale toasted bagels to dip in your soup.

Sometimes you hurried through your soup quickly to get seconds before they ran out, other times you would have to fill up on bagels and lemonade. Despite all the oddities here we went nearly every Thursday with a wide range of people attending, Malibu, Cider, Kain, Coyote, Smiles, Mother, Savages, Iceberg, Majesty, myself and sometimes we would even invite our friends or bump into them there.

At the end of eating, chatting and some awkward encounters we would leave, often with full stomachs, bags of breads and bagels and sometimes coats and clothing. Happy that even in times of stress and busyness we would see our family at least once a week.


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