Isabella Community Soup Kitchen Fund
The Isabella Community Soup Kitchen has established an endowment fund to help alleviate hunger in Isabella County. The Isabella Community Soup Kitchen began as a class project in 1990 by Central Michigan University student, Gary Taylor. When Gary witnessed a fellow Chinese student eating a catsup sandwich, the student explained to Gary that the country sponsoring his stay in the United States only provided enough money for books, materials, room and board, but not much money for food.
Gary found no existing soup kitchen in the area and decided to get started on the project. The Wesley Foundation, located on the Central Michigan University campus, provided its tiny kitchen and cafeteria to feed the hungry people of Isabella County. As word got out, more people attended, and three years later Gary had to find a larger facility. The Trinity United Methodist Church, located in downtown Mt. Pleasant, offered its basement with a larger kitchen to host the Soup Kitchen for almost a decade. Once again, the number of people outgrew the room available. A final site was found next to the Millpond Park on the west side of Mt. Pleasant to construct a new building for the permanent Soup Kitchen home. With the help of Soup Kitchen board members, its Fundraising Committee, and Clarence Tuma, former owner of Embers Restaurant of Mt. Pleasant, enough money was raised to start the project.
The existing Isabella Community Soup Kitchen opened its doors in December 2002, thanks to the great response and pledges from community businesses, churches and clubs. In fall 2003, a very generous donation was made from the estate of the former head cook, one of the original volunteers and several board members. This donation helped pay off the Soup Kitchen’s mortgage, and the endowed fund continues to aid in hunger relief of Isabella County.