Rogers Park soup kitchen celebrates 35 years of service

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The United Church of Rogers Park's soup kitchen, Community Feast, has been serving its community for 35 years.

It feeds almost 100 people every Sunday and so far, they haven't missed a meal yet.

"When we look out for each other, there's a joy that can't be described," Volunteer Coordinator Northa Johnson said.

Johnson's been working with Community Feast for the past 10 years. She typically does it from home, due to her health.

Johnson has to use a wheelchair and oxygen because of her Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, but that doesn't stop her from giving back to the community she loves.

"To see how people of a like mind and a like heart come and get together and do what needs to be done. Love your neighbor; that's what community feast is," Johnson.

So whenever she can, she leaves her home in Streeterville and comes to fellowship with her friends in Rogers Park.

"People come to eat a delicious, nutritious meal," Johnson said. "There are a myriad of reasons, we don't care. If you show up, we'll feed you."

People come from different areas of the city, from various backgrounds and several organizations, every week just to make sure these dinners happen.

"I live in Schaumburg, I think Felisha lives in Wheeling, Romayne lives on the south side," said volunteer John Cason. "We have an Indian group that comes, we have a Muslim group that comes, we have several temples that come."

"We have sororities and fraternities, church groups, we have the Kindness Group, we have Gay for Good," Johnson added.

But for many, these Sundays are about more than just getting a meal. It's a time to connect with their neighbors.

"We know each other by name," said Felisha Walker, volunteer. "A lot of us are familiar because they come every Sunday. It's like a family."

"Here the purpose was not to just to feed your body, but to restore your soul," one community member added. "One thing that they did was show immense respect for every person that came in. That's something that you don't see everywhere."

Community Feast happens every Sunday at the United Church of Rogers Park from 4 to 6 p.m.

If you'd like to volunteer, click here to send Northa Johnson an email.
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