The soup kitchen has far exceeded expectations
“When I was hungry, you fed me.” That’s what we titled our first story last year about Breakin’ Bread, the soup kitchen opening in Heber Springs to help feed our community’s less fortunate. And fed them, they have. What began as a promising initiative on the part of a few dedicated individuals has blossomed into one of the most important resources our community has come together and given to those often ignored by society at large.
Since we first reported on the opening of the soup kitchen, more churches and organizations have come on board to assist with the resources and operational needs associated with this local gem.
“The Breakin’ Bread ministry here in Heber Springs has grown to the point where we see it needs to be expanded in scope,” said Tommy Toombs, minister of First United Methodist Church in Heber. “It needs to become a lot more ecumenical than what it is.”
The Breakin’ Bread Board has four different churches involved and they are hoping to expand that participation to include more local churches and civic organizations. They want to incorporate participants that can spread out through the community and inform those that may not be aware of the kitchen. There are many in our area that don’t attend churches or may not have any religious affiliation at all that could be in need of what the kitchen provides. We can call attention to it periodically in our local paper and through our Facebook reach, but there are many that don’t use those resources due to financial limitations or lack of interest, and the kitchen would like to be able to reach those people that won’t hear it on Sunday or through media resources. Everyone needs to eat, and regardless of their personal beliefs or philosophies, the generous and caring people behind the kitchen are exhaustively attempting to meet that need.
The fact that the kitchen has grown as large as it has is a testament, not only to the evident fact that it was sorely needed in our community, but also to the way our community comes together to help its less fortunate. “There was never one dollar budgeted by the United Methodist Church here to fund this ministry,” said Toombs. “The money that Breakin’ Bread has taken in has always been by benefactors and by the goodness of people’s hearts in this community. The Methodist Church has been instrumental in getting it started, but not exclusive and we’re hoping to pull more of our local churches and civic organizations into the kitchen.”
Indeed, the operational needs of the kitchen have grown to the extent that they have now named Kimberly Workman as executive director to oversee the kitchen. “We needed someone to head up this ministry,” said Toombs. “We needed an executive director so people would know who to contact and who to go to that could devote themselves full time to this ministry.”
Workman ran a soup kitchen in Durango, Colorado for five years. “I have always loved people.”, said Workman. “I am a people person and I have always loved to cook. I never wanted to do this. I never spent my time daydreaming about being the director of a soup kitchen. God did all this. He found me in Durango.” The kitchen approached her and invited to use her experience to, in Toomb’s words, “take it to the next level.”
Workman is hoping to expand the service operations of the kitchen to feed people 7 days a week. “There are a lot more people coming than what we anticipated,” said Toombs. “There is a tremendous need for help for these people in our community.” To meet these needs, the kitchen relies on the help of our generous community. Donations are always welcome, as are volunteers for various tasks during the hours they serve.
The Sun-Times would like to take this opportunity to challenge our local businesses to volunteer their time to helping the kitchen fulfill its purpose in helping our friends and neighbors. If your business is interested in sending a group of employees to help the kitchen, let us know. We’ll come down and take a photo of your employees giving back to our community.
If you are interested in donating funds, time, or materials to help the kitchen, contact Executive Director Kimberly Workman on her cell at 479-659-2298 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Breakin’ Bread is located at 714 W. Scott Street in Heber Springs. Currently, they are open and serving on Fridays and Saturdays from 4-6pm.
“Jesus left us one commandment…. love one another,” said Toombs. “And what better way, hungry or not, can we do that than sitting down and sharing a meal. Giving someone our time, and listening to them, and caring about them.”