In December, the Stewpot, a ministry of First Presbyterian Church of Dallas, served its 8 millionth meal—equivalent to 13 million pounds or 2,800 pallets of food—marking a major milestone in the ministry’s 44-year history.
According to the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance, approximately 4,100 people are experiencing homelessness in the city on any given day. “Helping Dallas feed those individuals who are experiencing homelessness is an honor,” says Brenda Snitzer, executive director of the Stewpot. “We aim to provide support for as many of those individuals as possible, and a large part of that support is meal assistance.”
In 1975, First Presbyterian began serving soup in the church’s basement to hungry neighbors. As the ministry grew, it moved to its own building, and eventually to the Bridge Homeless Recovery Center, a space operated by the city. The Reverend Dr. Laura Barnes, First Presbyterian’s interim pastor for mission and evangelism, highlights that “in addition to casework services for those experiencing homelessness, we provide over 1,000 meals per day, 7 days per week.”
Aside from providing these meals, our café offers a quiet, air conditioned break. “I think the dining hall is a magical place, one where those who are in need of service and those who want to serve come together in a harmonious spirit,” says Stewpot Director of Operations & Volunteers Ashlee Hueston. “There have been power outages, fires, broken pipes and other disasters—but the commitment of this ministry to hold ourselves accountable to offer a dependable and a consistent service has never failed. With the help of over 1,400 volunteers a month, we have created a community dining hall where all belong.”
First Presbyterian Church of Dallas is a downtown church in the Presbyterian Church (USA). For more than 160 years, FPC Dallas has provided engaging worship, Christian formation and outreach in the heart of the city. For more information on their programs and service opportunities, visit www.fpcdallas.org.