Cranford-Elmora Soup Kitchen, Sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church of Cranford, NJ, Serves Up over 135,000 Warm Meals!
How quickly time passes. On Sunday, March 24th the 30th anniversary of the Cranford/Elmora Soup Kitchen will be recognized and celebrated. Many wonderful and miraculous events have occurred during these years.
What started with four teams as an outgrowth of a couple of Bible Study groups at Elmora Presbyterian Church, has grown into an ecumenical community service program with eight teams serving on a seven-week rotation sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church of Cranford. The Soup Kitchen, which serves the financially stressed of the Elizabeth area, is held every Sunday afternoon at The First Baptist Church of Cranford/Elizabeth from 3pm to 4pm. The meal is prepared on site by teams from First Presbyterian Church of Cranford, St. Theresa’s Church of Kenilworth, Korean Presbyterian Church of Bayway, Second Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth, St. Anne’s Church of Garwood, St. Michael’s Church of Cranford. These teams have members from several towns and counties.
We are also supported by “fill in” groups from Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, Cranford High School sports teams, Cranford High School/ Rotary sponsored groups, Cranford Recreational Sports Teams and Connecticut Farms Presbyterian Church of Union and others.
There is a mobile hanging from the Mission Bulletin board at FPCC noting all of the groups that support this program.
We started our sock collection program many years ago when we recognized the need for socks among our guests. Socks are distributed all year but especially during the winter months. This distribution begins with our Christmas Dinner at which we have a clothing closet with personal shoppers. The Cranford Jaycees give out toys, hats, gloves and scarves. Santa Claus and the Madrigal Singers of Cranford High School visit to share their gifts and music.
To date hundreds of volunteers have served over 135,000 meals. Funding has been provided by private donations and a small legacy from the sale of Elmora Presbyterian Church. During this evolution, the program has become a teaching lesson for youth. The impact on the youth has been, in the words of several youth alumni, humbling.
Did we ever expect this to happen? Not at all! But God did!