First Pres Serves Up Sloppy Joes

The Macomb Lions Club sponsored 170 servings of Sloppy Joes, mac and cheese, lettuce and fruit salad, tomato lentil soup, and dessert (Hy-Vee) that were prepared and served by First Presbyterian Church’s Sunday Morning Circle.

Assisting in the kitchen and Pack-a-Sack areas were volunteers including Lions Club, Centennial Rotary members and Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society.

We also welcomed back musician Mark Wheeler and WIU Nursing professor Patricia Eathington, who provided blood pressure screenings.

Although we didn’t catch any pictures of our dining room setup crew or our faithful Pack-a-Sack volunteers this month, you can be sure they were there in great numbers. Start practicing your smiles for next month!

Delta Sigma Phi and U of I Extension

What a wonderfully full menu of food, music, and fellowship! The WIU chapter of Delta Sigma Phi sponsored the February meal that was prepared by the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service. Turkey ala king over rice, mixed fruit, and desserts were enjoyed by approximately 150 people. Thank you to Will Wetzel for setting up an informational display about the Food for Thought activities that are available to area children on Fridays after school.

Welcome back–again–to OASIS, the non-traditional student organization at W.I.U. These students and their sponsor Janine Cavicchia have become a dependable resource for Soup and More!

Kudos to Theta Xi and the Society for Human Resource Management for their help at the meal.  Theta Xi has been instrumental to our food deliveries.

Thank you to Scott and Kathie for their music. And, of course, a big thank-you to those faithful volunteers who just show up every month to help until the work is done.

Wesley Methodist dishes it up!

On the fourth Sunday of each month from 4-6 P.M., 400 E. Carroll Street is one happening place! January’s meal was sponsored, prepared, and served by members of Wesley Methodist Church and other Soup and More volunteers. Led by Marian Swisher, this experienced kitchen crew–dashingly attired in pinstriped aprons and  matching hats–dished up mac and cheese, hot dogs, vegetable beef soup, tossed salad, and desserts for a very grateful crowd.

As usual, the Pack-a-Sack room bustled with activity from 2:00-6:00 P.M. We were excited to see so many new and returning volunteers. Have we mentioned that this is a great way to meet new people from all walks of life?!

In addition to the food, WIU nursing students were on hand to visit with guests about a variety of health topics and conduct blood pressure screenings. They were here for two meals during the fall semester and will be back for the upcoming February meal.

As guests enjoyed their meal, members of Western Illinois Traditional Music Association (WITMA) played a variety of musical offerings on a variety of musical instruments. If you enjoyed their music or would like to play with the group, here’s some information: “For musicians and friends that love the monthly music jam sessions in Macomb, IL – 2nd Friday of the month, 7-11pm, First Presbyterian Church, 400 E Carroll St.” Check out their Facebook page for additional information.

New green, cleaning machine

The Soup and More (SAM) CORE committee purchased a commercial vacuum cleaner from Westen Distributing in Macomb in an effort to improve efficiency in cleaning up after our monthly meals. Connie, First Presbyterian member and ever faithful clean up volunteer, takes the machine on its maiden voyage after the December meal.



view from the driver's seat

view from the driver’s seat


Calvary Baptist Christmas meal

DSC_0008Our December meal was sponsored and prepared by Calvary Baptist Church–their second meal this year! In addition to providing financial sponsorship, church members served the meal prepared by Quincy chefs Pete and Ryan, furnished children’s gift bags for varying ages, provided vouchers for a Hy-Vee ham or turkey, and raised the roof of Fellowship Hall with their worship band’s songs of praise. And after all the guests had left, they joined our regular clean up crew to put things back in place.

CORE committee members Danielle and Kristen greet December meal guests

CORE committee members Danielle and Kristen greet December meal guests

Meanwhile, in the Pack-a-Sack room, guests were able to choose some grocery staples that have come from Midwest Food Bank in Peoria and River Bend Food Bank in Rock Island. There is much work that is done behind the scenes–before the day of the monthly meal. Food is ordered, picked up, unloaded, stored, displayed, and given out by many individuals and organizations.



CORE Committee


Front row, left to right: Danielle Barnes, David Zazeski, Melissa Calhoun, Mark Merrill
Back row: Kathie Whitson, Chris Busker (visitor), Jamie Johnson, Jennifer DeJong

The Soup and More CORE committee meets the Sunday afternoon the week before the monthly meal.

Shepherd’s Gate Foursquare…

. . . shared their bountiful love and excitement by cooking our September meal, providing some awesome music, and serving up pantry staples for our guests. In addition, WIU nursing students provided blood pressure screenings and health information for all in attendance.


stirring up some smiles



some Shepherd’s Gate musicians



a WIU nursing student administers a blood pressure check


WIU nursing students


Pack-a-sack workers



Believe it or not . . . the clean up crew


The difference a hat makes

The August meal was prepared and served by our friends from Mosaic under the guidance of Margaret Brabham.

Pack-a-sack is full of surprises, but this is one we didn’t anticipate.  What an ingenious costume!

Creative HelpThese smiles were contagious!

Costume Fun

Soup and More receives bulk packages from the food banks. Volunteers divide the items for distribution at pack-a-sack. Wearing a hairnet is serious business!Mosaic Aug 2013

Mosaic served a tasty Mexican casserole with cornbread, tossed salad, and cinnamon-spiced applesauce. The kitchen was filled with laughter, but you might not know it from these subdued expressions. Do you suppose the health department would let us swap our white hairnets and plastic gloves for pop-tart boxes?

Mosaic 2013

The International Garden Party

Soup and More’s plot at the Macomb Community Garden is growing with a little help from some friends from the neighborhood and across the globe.  On our first day, a young man from the neighborhood stopped to see what we were doing.  We invited him to join us, sweetened the deal with a cherry tomato, and he went to get his brother. Who can resist tasty, sun-ripened cherry tomatoes picked straight from the vine?

On day two, the two young men increased to three, and we added two New Zealanders.  The seven of us used shovels and hoes to prep the garden plot, share ideas, compare accents, examine worldviews, and generally enjoy each other’s company.

And you thought we were just growing lettuce….