In March of 2015 after celebrating six successful years of serving the hungry in our community we made the decision to search for a second location for the Soup Cafe.
At the time we were bursting at the seams serving anywhere from 100 to 200+ people a day six days per week. The homeless shelter was 2 1/2 miles away which meant that for the homeless to get a hot meal they would have to walk 5 miles round trip. So we started a campaign to raise money to open a second location for the Soup Cafe, one where we would be closer to the homeless shelter. Just as we started this project our landlord dropped the bombshell that he was terminating our lease on June 1st. So at the end of May 2015, we closed our doors and Bismarck has been without a soup kitchen since our closure.
Our biggest challenge has been finding an affordable building in the right location of town. After 14 months of not finding anything affordable, with $400 in the Soup Cafe checking we made an offer on the Chesak Seed House for $500,000, a 5,000 sq. ft. building that was located just a half block from the homeless shelter. The only catch was that we had until February to raise half of the money for the down payment. We kicked off our fundraising campaign in September 2016 and by the end of February we had raised a quarter of a million dollars and closed on the building by the end of March 2017. Glory be to God!
The new Soup Cafe will have a larger dining room with seating for about 76 compared to 28 at our old location.
We will not only have homemade soups, sandwiches and desert bar, but also a salad bar for our patrons. We will have private showers and laundry facilities for the homeless along with a computer area to find work and a fellowship area where they can relax and visit. The food will be free but for the showers, laundry and computers the patrons will have to use “Soup Cafe bucks”. To earn these Soup Cafe bucks they can volunteer, washing dishes, cleaning or serving food. We want to offer people a hand up and not just a hand out.
Renovation started in August but because of the cost we will have to do things in stages. Phase one we will build a commercial kitchen, renovate the dining room and build ADA bathrooms. As donations come in we will then start phase two and three which will be the installation of sprinklers throughout the Soup Cafe, build showers, laundry area, computer and fellowship area.
The History of the Soup Cafe
In May of 2006 I felt the prompting from the Holy Spirit to go on a fast. I did not know the reason I was to fast nor did I know for how long I was to fast. After the sixth day of fasting the Lord had me put a pen to what He had rumbling in my spirit. This was the start of the Heaven’s Helpers ministry. (Click here) to see the brochure that was birthed from that fast. Once I penned out the words you see on the brochure I was then lead to end the fast.
For the next three years the Lord had me writing the articles and the teachings which you see on the Heaven’s Helpers site. The Lord impressed me from the start that I was not to invite people to become part of Heaven’s Helpers, instead God spoke to my spirit that He would move on people’s hearts to become involved in order to accomplish His will for HIS MINISTRY.
Out of the fruit of the Heaven’s Helpers ministry, the Soup Cafe was opened in March of 2009 in the old “Hawk’s Pit-stop” gas station. The purpose in opening the Soup Cafe was to show the love of Jesus Christ by feeding people both physically and spiritually free of charge. This location was chosen by God Himself.
Four months before we opened the Soup Cafe and one month before we even knew we were going to be doing a soup kitchen, a group of high school girls were driving around praying for the city of Bismarck when they heard the voice of the Lord tell them to go to our current location which was then an abandoned gas station. The Lord told them to STOP and pray over this building and said that He was going to do something big in this place. These girls proceeded to lay hands on the building and pray over it. Then they walked around the building praying for over an hour. God had ordained this location even before we had decided to open the Soup Cafe!
The Soup Cafe is not set up as a typical “soup kitchen” but more like a cafe. We encourage patrons to seat themselves while we serve them by taking their order and bringing them their food. We are set up just like a restaurant only with Christian music or teaching playing on the flat screen TV. We serve at least two homemade soups each day along with two types of sandwiches along with dessert and coffee. Patrons are allowed to eat as much as they want; as long as they do not waste the food we will continue serving them. Our customer base includes the homeless on the street, homeless living in their cars, individuals on disability, working poor, elderly, and those in need who just want a homemade bowl of soup.
Everything at the Soup Cafe is given to people free of charge including bread, desserts, Bibles and books which people can take home. We do have a free will box for anyone who is lead to contribute to our monthly expenses. This is the only source of revenue for the Soup Cafe. Since we receive no government funding and do not solicit funds, we rely completely on God. He has been so faithful from the very beginning always paying the bills and providing food. We do not go to the grocery store or cook by recipes, instead we use what God provides and cook with what we have. God plans the menu, not us.
At the Soup Cafe we provide spiritual needs on a daily basis for those who need prayer, Bible council, or just an ear to listen. Bible studies are held Tuesday evenings, Wednesdays for kids, Fridays and Sunday mornings. We are an alternative for many people who would never feel comfortable inside a real church and offer them an opportunity to know Jesus through His teachings and our actions.
We have seen miracle after miracle as we take this faith walk. We have seen prayers in the morning answered by the afternoon as we prayed for ingredients to cook with the next day. We have seen the soup in the pot multiplied and feed 95 people when it should have only fed 45 people. We have seen God’s faithfulness when He moved on the hearts of people who gave $545 on the last day of the month in order to pay our bills that we were $500 short.
We have seen many miracles of healing’s, pressure caners miraculously fixed, Freezers donated, money appear to remodel a storage garage and many more! God has met us and provided for us every step of the way. We believe there are very lean times coming very soon and that God will be using the Soup Cafe to feed the masses by miraculously providing for the needs of His people.
Our staff is 100% volunteer and is designed to be an avenue for God’s children to be servants to others. We encourage the body of Christ to stop asking WWJD? “what would Jesus do?” and start DWJD! “Doing what Jesus did” by loving, serving and praying with others. The Soup Cafe is God’s ministry and anyone who would like to volunteer and be a part of Heaven’s Helpers is welcome.