Boyertown soup kitchen seeks to warm the winter blues away

Bill Smoyer with members of his team

Throughout this long and trying winter, every Wednesday, a loyal and warm hearted group of volunteers has managed to keep the soup kitchen warm at Good Shepherd UCC of Boyertown.

Serving more than forty people lunch, Bill Smoyer, founder of the soup kitchen project at the church, jokes “It’s more than just soup. As a matter of fact, today there is no soup on the menu.”

This year, this service began on Dec. 4 and will continue until March 26.

Two years ago when Smoyer was laid of from a job he had held for many years, he decided to start the soup kitchen. Enlisting the help of his friends and family, and donations from the local community, Smoyer turned his newly acquired free-time into ‘giving time.’ Smoyer, understanding personally people can be down on their luck and in need of a warm meal, put his mind and his cooking ability into action.

Since then the wintery Wednesday’s at the church have become filled with food and fellowship for those in need. Smoyer and his bunch admit they sometimes do not know what will be on the menu until a few days before when they head to the grocery store and find the best sales, but once the pots get hot there isn’t an dissatisfied appetite in the room.

Often times, the rooms reportedly fill with seniors unable to make it to the grocery store during the worst days of winter weather and those who are living on fixed incomes. The meal offers them some relief, and a few hours of companionship and conversation—a true fix to the winter blues and cabin fever.

As the afternoon rolls to an end and all the different desserts are being served, Smoyer’s team walks around and hands out leftovers to be taken home.

This past Wednesday folks were offered beef stroganoff, baked potatoes, salad and fresh cantaloupe along with pies and cakes made by Marleene Smoyer, Bill’s mother.

“Growing up in a Dutch house my mother and Grandmother were always cooking and it was all I could do but to pass that on to my son,” said Smoyer.

With only a handful of loyal helpers to feed the masses, one might expect the kitchen to be filled with sounds of labor and the calling out of direction but that is not the case. In fact the sound of laughing and ‘gabbing,’ as the group refers to it, can be heard from the opening of the kitchen at 11 a.m. to the final clean-up at 1 p.m.

Indeed the ‘soup’ kitchen at Good Shepherd is the place to be for those who need a hearty meal.

Ardi and Lenore Sands and their friends Nancy Bower, Jean Weist and Tina DiMarino all agreed they come because “The food is better than you find at a restaurant and you get the chance to make new friends while having fun with the friends you’ve had for years.

March marks the last month of the soup kitchen for this year.

Smoyer’s team welcomes all and would like to thank those whose donations make the kitchen possible, which includes Shepherd of the Hills Church and the Boyertown Legion along as well as Good Shepherd Church for use of their facilities. For more information or inquiries, please contact the Good Shepherd United Church of Christ.