The History of our Wonderful “SOUP SUNDAY” tradition and the Oxon Hill Food Pantry by Liz Echols
Our longest lasting and most effective social action project began more than 40 years ago. Back in 1969, Davies Memorial and a group of other area churches of all denominations banded together to try and solve some of the many problems they became aware of in the community.
At the time a most urgent one was drug use among the youth and young adults. This affiliated group was organized as the Interfaith Community Action Council, Inc. (ICAC). It was organized as a non-profit with a Board consisting of a member from each of the constituent churches. Eventually their efforts led to an active counseling center to deal with the drug problem.
As time went on, other programs larger in scope and many sponsored by government entities came on the scene and ICAC looked for other areas of concern.
Studies showed that the two major social concerns were hunger and homelessness.
Thus, in 1984 the ICAC established the Oxon Hill Food Pantry. The Pantry’s mission is to provide an emer-gency supply of food to those in need in our local area. The records indicate that each year the Pantry serves close to 2,000 families, representing 5,000 or more individuals.
The Pantry is a purely volunteer-operated organization. It’s funding is provided by the sponsoring churches and one annual fund raiser, the Walkathon in the spring.
Our records show that in 1984, the Board of Trustees approved a motion to support the Pantry with money from various fund raisers. Subsequently, a Board member proposed having twice-a-month “soup and bread” lunches with proceeds going to the Food Pantry. Initially it was suggested that we should enjoy a very simple bowl of soup and bread together, while keeping in mind those who are in need of food. Obviously, we no longer partake of ‘simple bowls of soup’…we often now enjoy gourmet soup! However, we continue to support and provide essential funds to the Food Pantry.
Each year, Davies is among the top supporters of the Pantry. In addition to the Walkathon contribution of $900, our Soup Sunday proceeds exceeded $1,100 in the most recent fiscal year.
Over the past 29 years, whether by contributing to the Walkathon, volunteering to help at the Pantry, picking up food supplies for delivery to the Pantry, making soup, providing bread, or consuming/paying for soup on Soup Sunday, almost everyone in the Davies community has contributed to this social justice effort.
Currently, Dave Phillips represents Davies at the Food Pantry board meetings. In addition, he and Ruth and Ned McCubbin help to ensure this tradition continues by arranging to have soup and bread available for us to “enjoy eating soup together so that others might eat”.
Your next opportunity to contribute to this worthy cause by providing soup or bread will be October 20th. Just add your name to the “Soup Sunday Soup Makers” sign-up sheet on the bulletin board in the lobby.