First Presbyterian Church is deeply committed to community outreach. We attempt to alleviate the stress of life on the streets or in substandard housing, by providing needed items such as food staples, pants, shirts, socks, hygiene kits and blankets in addition to a hot meal served every Sunday afternoon. If you are seeking active involvement in Christian outreach, there is ample opportunity here. Most of our ministries are based around the Soup Kitchen.
The Soup Kitchen was started more than 20 years ago to provide a hot meal on Sunday afternoons to the homeless and hungry of Memphis. Prior to our Soup Kitchen, there was no organization that offered such a service on Sunday. First Presbyterian Church provides the facilities and the leadership while volunteers from churches throughout the Mid-South assist in the weekly food service. You don’t have to be Presbyterian to help in the Soup Kitchen; Temple Israel and St. John’s Greek Orthodox church send volunteers.
We currently serve an average of 150 men, women and children on Sunday afternoon. Twenty to 24 volunteers assist each Sunday. In addition to the hot meal we hand out hygiene kits containing the basic essentials and a few extras when our supplies permit.
The Soup Kitchen also sponsors special occasions like a Christmas Dinner where gifts of warm winter clothing and accessories are distributed. We also serve a festive meal on Souper Bowl Sunday raising money that will support our services in the coming year.
Our Soup Kitchen is Coordinated each week by the team of dedicated volunteers pictured below: Chuck Woodall, Carrie Muldavin, Jamie Evans, Audrey Fetterman, and Lee Henderson.
Birth Certificate Program
Having acquired their birth certificates, our clients can apply for a photo ID. In 2010 our ID Program helped 230 clients acquire their IDs and 9 renew their driver’s licenses. We transport 10 to 18 clients to the state licensing bureau on the first two Tuesdays of each month, escorting our clients through the procedures and paying for their application. It may seem like a simple process. But if you are among the dispossessed , governmental procedures can be complex, confusing and expensive. With a photo ID our clients can apply for food stamps, stay in a shelter, cash their checks, get a job or apply for housing or other life-sustaining needs.
Food Stamps (SNAP) Assistance
The Tennessee Department of Human Services uses our Fellowship Hall on most Monday and Wednesday mornings from 9:00 am until approximately noon to interview applicants for Food Stamps assistance. Volunteers from the church oversee the process, assisting applicants in filling out their forms and providing sandwiches when they leave. No appointment is necessary. Note that if a month has a 5th Monday or a 5th Wednesday, there is no Food Stamps assistance on that day.
On the 1st and 3rd Sundays of every month, we continue to provide men’s and women’s seasonal work clothing for those in need. We expect the need to increase in the coming years and welcome contributions in kind from churches and organizations throughout the Mid South. As with the Soup Kitchen we welcome volunteers to help with the sorting and distribution of garments and accessories.
The Hospitality HUB
First Presbyterian Church is a founding member of The Hospitality HUB, and continues to support The Hospitality HUB at 146 Jefferson. Created by the Downtown Churches Association in 2007, The Hospitality HUB provides spiritual sanctuary for Memphis’ homeless and particularly to the newly homeless. The HUB connects its clients to resources that help them achieve physical, mental, spiritual and economic stability. The HUB provides counseling, processes birth certificate applications, interviews for state IDs and makes their own runs to the licensing bureau on the 3rd and 4th Wednesdays of each month. In 2008 they processed 345 state ID acquisitions.
MIFA Meals on Wheels
Volunteers from the congregation of First Presbyterian Church have assigned days and routes with the MIFA Meals on Wheels program.