During the early 1980's many people of all races; single, married and with families, some with and some without transportation, would come to Wesley Trinity United Methodist Church needing money, food, or medicines. We saw many hungry and sometimes even sick children. Wesley Trinity big in faith and trusting in the Lord knew that, because of God's unlimited resources, there would always be food in the pantry, thus enabling them to provide food and help them on their way.
An idea for feeding our neighbors came during these economically depressed times when many people lost their jobs, homes, and livelihoods. Rev. Eugene Raphael, who was the Pastor of the Wesley Trinity Church at this time, was sharing the plans for a "Soup Kitchen" with Rev. Robert Hedges of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church. Rev. Hedges and his congregation decided to become partners in this ministry to the poor.
On January 8, 1984, Rev. Raphael, Mary Hankins, S. B. Bundage, and Sarah Holbert, met around the table at Good Shepherd, with Rev. Hedges, Helen Franks, Marion Steffey and Tom Whitesides. Over a potluck meal, with LOVE, CARING, SHARING, OPENNESS, and HONESTY, plans were made to open the Daily Bread Soup Lunch Program together. Wesley Trinity was thought to be the best location, and Rev. Hedges told his congregation "God works in strange ways, and we are now in the soup business."
Coverage by the news media and several radio stations resulted in donations of food, a freezer and financial gifts flooding in from across the San Angelo Community. These two churches officially began this Ministry when it opened its doors on February 4, 1984. There has never been any paid staff…only volunteers from both congregations coming together to prepare and serve the soup and lunches. This is still true today.
Within the first five years, other churches and organizations joined in this partnership. These included St. Paul Presbyterian Church, St. Joseph Catholic Church, St. Luke United Methodist Church, Sierra Vista United Methodist Church, Goodfellow Air Force Base, and Levi Strauss. Since that time, we now have citywide support as well as support from surrounding cities and communities.
Daily Bread Soup Lunch Program is designed to provide nourishing hot meals at noon Monday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Children, women, and men, who would not otherwise have a sustaining meal on a daily basis, are welcome to partake of this meal. The meals consist of a nourishing homemade soup or stew, and / or a main dish served with meat and vegetable, bread, dessert, drinks, and often other side dishes.
Adequate nutrition is a major health issue, particularly among children, the elderly and the mentally ill. There is no other program in San Angelo delivering this specific service to this constituency. Most persons eat two or more servings. Daily Bread Lunch Soup Program is helping to decrease hunger in San Angelo.
Daily Bread feeds 40,000+ meals annually. Program administration and operational costs indicate this is one of the most cost effective programs in San Angelo. A Board of Directors make policy, govern the program, and meet as needed, but at least quarterly.
The Daily Bread Lunch Program receives financial support, gifts, talent, individuals, time and labor through selfless donations from churches, merchants, military, non-profit organizations, and restaurants. This soup lunch program is one of the most successful community outreach programs in San Angelo. Our concern for the less fortunate and homeless is an excellent example of Christians putting God’s Love into action.
The Program is officially under the legal authority of the Wesley Trinity United Methodist Church, a small congregation (but big in heart) in San Angelo. The successes of this ministry prove that God's Blessings are extended to those who follow His Word of Charity and Goodwill.