A Poor Man's Supper

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

At a time of year when most people are gathering with family and friends to celebrate the holidays, some Louisiana residents are getting a taste of the homeless life.

[Photo 1: Residents receiving soup and cornbread]
Area residents receive their simple meal of soup and cornbread

[Photo 2: Volunteers serving soup]
Volunteers serve participants at the Poor Man's Supper

Each year, just prior to Thanksgiving, an annual event dating back more than 30 years takes place at a soup kitchen in Shreveport. Christian Services, a local non-profit, sponsors the "Poor Man's Supper," a fund-raising event designed to give area residents the same dining experience as those who are hungry and homeless.

A simple meal of soup and cornbread underscores the plight of the poor and the homeless in the area. "We want to build awareness that folks in Shreveport go to bed hungry," says Brother Giovanni Reid, the director of Christian Services.

Located in the heart of the city's poorest neighborhood, the soup kitchen serves more than 200 each day. Since the dining area only seats 50, the diners must hurry through their meal to make room for the next group to be served. Each rotation begins with a prayer.

Now in its 33rd year of operation, Christian Services was one of the first organizations in Shreveport to address the issue of homelessness. In addition
[Photo 3: Brother Giovanni Reid greeting those in attendance]
Brother Giovanni Reid, the director of Christian Services, greets those in attendance.

to the soup kitchen, they also operate several transitional housing shelters that are funded in part with HUD Emergency Shelter Grant and Community Development Block Grant funds. A variety of homeless prevention and supportive services including assistance with utilities, medication, and rent is also offered by Christian Services.

[Photo 4: Three performers emphasizing problems of the homeless]
A young performing group brings emphasis to the problems the homeless face.


Since the soup kitchen was established in 1983, more than a million meals have been served to the homeless. As the hundreds of Shreveport residents who attended the Poor Man's Supper join family and friends during the upcoming holidays, they will no doubt think of the homeless who gather at the soup kitchen each day for their simple meal. They now have a new appreciation for the reality of poverty and hunger in their community, the work being done by Christian Services and the challenges faced daily by the homeless.

Content Archived: September 09, 2009