There’s a new soup kitchen and warming center in Somerset and the homeless and the hungry are quickly finding their way there.
While she was volunteering at the Living Bread Soup Kitchen in Somerset for more than a year, Mitzi Dowell saw the community’s need for a place for the homeless to get out of the cold – not a shelter with background checks, but a warming center open to anyone when the temperature gets below 32 degrees.
The door remains open as long as no one interferes with the safety of others.
Dowell is a member of Somerset First Church of the Nazarene and felt the call to set up a soup kitchen along with the warming center.
She collaborated with the pastor, Mike Grant, and Feed My Sheep Ministries was born three weeks ago, with Dowell as director.
Two dozen overnight guests have already stayed at the warming center at Somerset First Church of the Nazareen. Dowell said the guests are a reminder that unexpected circumstances often cause a person to become homeless, like one man who showed up after serving in the military in Afghanistan.
“He had a wife, sent all of his checks home. When he came back from Afghanistan, his wife had left him, with another man, had sold their home, had kept all of his money. So he’s homeless," said Dowell. "He thought he had a savings. He thought he had a home and he thought he had a family waiting on him and they were all gone when he got back from Afghanistan, after fighting for our country.”
Dowell said the project aims to help people get back on their feet.
“We have helped people get in touch with their families, some of the homeless," said Dowell. "We have helped people get into more permanent situations, so they don’t have to go back into any kind of street life. We have places they they can take showers and do their laundry. Of course, we have our kitchen that’s available to feed them.”
On Friday, Feb. 15, Feed My Sheep Ministries added to the warming center by launching its soup kitchen at Somerset First Church of the Nazareen. The group will serve a meal every Friday at 4 o’clock.