SoupMobile serves up hope in Dallas

By Rebecca Fowler
Staff Writer

It’s so easy.  Walk down the streets of a major city, look at the towering buildings, peek inside storefront windows, rush to grab coffee before work, shoot a text to your boss, glance at a man asleep under the stairs.

And continue on your way.

It happens all the time.  In our fast paced day-to-day lives, we rarely take a moment to help out or even consider someone living on the streets with no home, no food and no way of knowing if he will make it to tomorrow.

One man decided to step out from the crowd and take a stand for the homeless, however. David Timothy, a former insurance company employer, began an organization in 2003 devoted to feeding, clothing and housing homeless people in the Dallas area.  With just a few helpers and few resources, the SoupMobile was formed.

The SoupMobile feeds thousands of homeless people in downtown Dallas. Photo courtesy Precious Femi-Ogunyemi.

“I was never homeless myself,” Timothy said.  “But I experienced hunger firsthand as a child, and it inspired me to help others in need.”

In its first year, this non-profit organization served 5,000 meals.  At the time, Timothy and the rest of his team saw this as an amazing feat, but after now serving over 200,000 meals per year, they understand how far they have come.

“The SoupMobile organization is a pure service group,” senior Hannah Allen said.  “They provide the most basic necessity—food. The work they do is outstanding because they are willing to be the hands and feet.”

The SoupMobile is exactly what one would think—a mobile soup kitchen.  It delivers sandwiches, fruit cups, trail mix, chips, desserts and, of course, soup to the 10,000-plus impoverished men, women and children in Dallas.  Volunteers often help with the serving of food on the streets, office work and preparing food for delivery.

On Feb. 6, Coppell Bible Fellowship (CBF) participated in a service project partnering with the SoupMobile.  In just 30 minutes, 93 students made over 2,000 meat and cheese sandwiches that were given to the SoupMobile to deliver downtown.

“The SoupMobile was pretty tight,” freshman Emily Harrison said.  “We don’t realize how many people are without food and homes, and the SoupMobile is really making a difference in thousands of lives.”

The youth group made the project into a fun competition between grades and genders, seeing which group could reach 250 sandwiches first.  With the largest group, the high school senior girls won the challenge, though all the students together helped CBF provide 53 trays of sandwiches for the SoupMobile.

“I was especially excited to do this service project with other girls in my church’s senior class,” Allen said. “It was good to work together and was a great way to end our time together as a group [of seniors]. We really bonded while serving—so much so that we made our sandwiches the fastest out of any class. And of course, we ignored the gibes from the boys about our futures in sandwich-making.”

Individuals often volunteer with the organization, but groups like the CBF youth are often the most influential and helpful.  They are able to work quickly while having fun together.

“The best part of the service project was getting the chance to feed the homeless,” junior Hannah Yates said.  “That sounds so generic, but it’s true. I got to have fun with my friends while helping others.”

Timothy’s vision for the SoupMobile is to, of course, expand their feeding operation.  But he also hopes to help the homeless in a greater way.

“I hope that our SoupMobile Village will grow,” Timothy said.  “It is our halfway house, and our goal is to help transition homeless people back into the community.”

With the same drive Timothy had when forming the SoupMobile organization, the SoupMobile Village will surely be a successful mission in Dallas.

If you are interested in volunteering with or donating to the SoupMobile, visit www.soupmobile.org/volunteer or call 1-800-375-5022.

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