What started as a weekly, family-style meal at St. Rita’s Church grew into a multifaceted nonprofit organization helping those in need get back on their feet. Founded in 1982 by the Haines family as St. Rita’s Supper Table, Soup for the Soul provides mental health resources, work clothes, ministry outreach, and weekly meals. The Haines family legacy of openness and community survived several moves and organizational changes.
Soup for the Soul is run by David and Stacy Nagel, former youth group participants of St. Rita’s who grew up alongside St. Rita’s Supper Table. Volunteering was just something they did growing up and something they continue to do as adults. The work that they do is integral to who they are as people. The Nagels periodically open their home up for celebrations and events making sure everyone is well fed and comfortable. Their goal is to run Soup for the Soul like a home.
“We don’t treat people who come to us like they’re anything other than normal, because they are,” Stacy Nagel said. She stressed that the pandemic has changed so many lives and folks who never thought they’d need Soup for the Soul’s help are finding themselves in need.
When the pandemic hit, Soup for the Soul mobilized volunteers into a mask brigade, passing out free masks to those in need and selling masks to raise money to continue their services. Soup for the Soul has started food giveaways and has fed 1,500 families so far.
“This year has been extremely trying,” Stacy Nagel, said when recounting how COVID has impacted their operation. “We had to come up with inventive ways to continue our food give-aways . We helped clients stay educated on the importance of good hygiene and proper use of PPE.”
One of the Nagels favorite expressions is “it takes a village.” It’s clear how crucial every
single volunteer is to Soup for the Soul. “We can’t do any of this by ourselves. We have so many volunteers who make this possible.” David Nagel said. Soup for the Soul is a collaborative organization requiring the help of the community to get food, clothes and other services to those in need.
Soup for the Soul would like to thank all their volunteers from past to present—especially junior volunteers Lilliana and Avery who have been on site throughout the pandemic with their parents; all the local restaurants and businesses who have donated to Soup for the Soul over the years; and Becky and John Gresham who helped secure a new home for their operations. Dundalk Renaissance and the entire Dundalk community, thanks Soup for the Soul for its incredible support for our neighbors.