Soup Nights Expanding to Warm Souls During Pandemic

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church members Martha Kupscznk (top, left) and Karen Blye-McAbee stir soup pots in the church kitchen last Wednesday in preparation for the church’s first Soup Night. Above, Dan and Lynne Graham put up signage along Church Street to direct people to the pickup area for Soup Night, which they will continue on the first Wednesday of every month. The next distribution of free soup will be held on Jan. 6.

Story and photos by By Rick Hiduk

(Also published in the Susquehanna County Independent)

The members of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Montrose have joined parishioners from other houses of worship in Susquehanna County to help stem the tide of food insecurity as the pandemic overlaps the holiday season. On Dec. 2, volunteers handed out more than 100 containers of soup, rolls, applesauce and cookies.

St. Paul’s senior warden Lynne Graham considered the event an adjunct to the efforts of other agencies and food pantries. “And, we know that other churches have done it, and it has gone well,” she said on Wednesday afternoon after she and her husband, Dan, had put up signs around the block to guide people through the drive-through pick-up area.

Lynne explained that Dan is more often the soup chef at home, but the Graham family has always enjoyed making soups. Homemade chicken noodle and cream of broccoli were on the menu for their first distribution night. Lynne’s sister, Karen Blye-McAbee, and fellow parishioner Martha Kupscznk shared cooking duties on Dec. 2, filling the new kitchen at St. Paul’s with the delicious aromas of chicken stock, onions, carrots and all the other ingredients going into the pot.

I’m so happy to finally see this kitchen put to use,” Martha exclaimed.

Renovation of the kitchen was started two years ago with the intention of hosting community dinners, Lynne noted. And, while parishioners and their guests are surely missing the fellowship of sit-down meals, she is happy that the church can participate in feeding those in need at a time of the year when parents might be making tough choices between buying groceries, paying a bill, or even getting a few gifts to put under the tree.

Encouraged by the success of their first Soup Night, member of St. Paul’s will continue soup giveaways on the first Wednesday of each month in an effort to fill gaps left on the calendar between other food distribution of which they are aware.

We’ll probably stick with soup during the winter months,” she stated. If the pandemic and the need for supplemental food continues, she noted, “We might switch to sandwiches as it warms up.”

The next Soup Night will be on Wednesday, Jan. 6. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church is located at 276 Church Street in Montrose. For more information, interested readers may call the church at 570-278-2954 or look for updates at

On Dec. 16 and 17, St. Paul’s will team up with Susquehanna County Interfaith to distribute coats to those in need. According to Interfaith executive director Cindy Beeman, a flier will be distributed to each family receiving a food basket as part of the annual collaboration letting them know that coats are available to them at St. Paul’s.

Other churches in the area hosting soup giveaways include Dimock Christian Community Church from 4 to 5:30 pm on the second Wednesday of the month. Soup must be pre-ordered one week prior by calling 570-289-4928. On Monday, Dec. 21, South Montrose Community Church will conduct a Soup Night from 4:30 to 6:30. While there is no charge for soup from any of the churches, donations are appreciated.

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