Feed ‘Em Soup offers Thanksgiving meals

By Olivia Willoughby

There are a few places offering Thanksgiving meals to those unable to return home for Thanksgiving break, as well as those without a home to return to.

Feed ‘Em Soup, 122 S. First St., invites anyone in town to join Wednesday’s Thanksgiving Eve dinner from 5 to 7 p.m. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. and the meal will be free.

“There’s a growing need in the county [for the organization],” said Feed ‘Em Soup president Randi Kennedy. “A large number of people live under the poverty level and a lot are children. So we offer two meals a month, free of charge, to anybody in DeKalb County.”

The Thanksgiving Eve dinner will be served restaurant style. While Kennedy said she thought about serving the meal family style, she found serving the food like at a restaurant was easier. Family style would resemble serving at a Thanksgiving family dinner table. Restaurant style deals with guests ordering their food from servers, who then deliver the food back to the guest.

“We [wouldn’t] have much control over it,” Kennedy said. “I believe last year we had over 150 people at the meal. It’s a little harder to do it family style with over 150 people versus 12 people.”

Wednesday will be Feed ‘Em Soup’s second Thanksgiving meal. The organization started offering two meals a month just a year ago. The meal will also be its 30th meal, not including fundraisers, said Derek Gibbs, Feed ‘Em Soup marketing and brand director.

Several of Feed ‘Em Soup’s volunteers include NIU students, however, they can still join Wednesday’s meal if stuck on campus. Feed ‘Em Soup is located on NIU’s Bus 2 route so NIU students staying in town during the break are expected to come, Kennedy said.

“We greatly encourage students that will be in town on Wednesday evening to come on by for a great meal,” said Feed ‘Em Soup treasurer Mike Ryan. “Many of the students are from out-of-town or even from other countries and aren’t able to go home. Our meal will give them the opportunity to join our family for the evening.”

At this non-traditional soup kitchen, the Thanksgiving Eve meal includes traditional foods such as stuffing, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls and turkey.

Another place to go for a Thanksgiving meal is the Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. John, 26555 Brickville Road in Sycamore. Its meal will be held 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

“We’re offering it to anyone who wants to come,” said Bob Weinhold, senior pastor at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. John. “No one will be turned away. Anyone who doesn’t have a place to go, can’t cook their own meal or can’t afford it can come.”

The Thanksgiving meals have been going on for almost 12 years. Weinhold said everyone felt they had to help those in need.

The meal will involve a serving line in which people can also get traditional Thanksgiving food.

“We have a comfortable, multi-use room and we’ll have about 200 to 250 people,” Weinhold said. “Most come in around noon. The atmosphere will be relaxed and people will socialize. There’s plenty of room and food for everyone.”

There is also an option to donate to help the church cover some of its expenses, Wienhold said.