Photo and article by Fred Kroner: John Scott is the organizer of the soup kitchen, which opened for the
first time on Monday at the poolhouse at Candlewood. It will be open on
Mondays and Thursdays from 3:30-6 p.m.
Kristen Bryant is learning that payback is sweet.
The Mahomet resident is one of the volunteers who helped cook and serve earlier this week when a soup kitchen opened for the first time at the Candlewood Estates pool house.
“People have helped me in my life and have done amazing things, and Ibelieve you give back,” Bryant said. “You give back what you get.”
Plans are for the food pantry to be open on Mondays and Thursdays from 3:30-6 p.m., though the time is flexible.
“We wouldn’t leave if we had a bunch of people here,” Mary Scott said. Scott’s husband, John, is one of the organizers.
“He gets an idea,” Mary Scott said, “and goes with it.”
Monday’s menu was available without charge, John Scott said to “anyone in Mahomet who wants to come for food” and included potato soup, chicken and noodle soup, pinwheels and sandwiches.
Bryant has two children at home, a 5-year-old an a 1-year-old, but her mother looked after them so she could assist the Scotts.
“I’m trying to volunteer more and put myself out there,” said Bryant, who made the pinwheels and a sandwich sub.
John Scott started advertising around Candlewood in the days before the opening, which is held in the same room where three racks of clothes are also available.
He believes word of mouth will efficiently spread the word.
“When people see things happening, they start participating,” he said. Bryant believes the demand will mushroom.
“Things have to grow,” she said. “Plant a seed and it can grow.
“People can talk. It takes a few people saying something and it grows into something amazing. In a month, we’ll need a lot more food.”
Mary Scott wasn’t surprised that there wasn’t a waiting line on Monday.
“Some won’t do it at first because of the unknown,” she said. “They don’t know what will be down here.”
Those who arrived Monday were appreciative of the soup kitchen.
Scott isn’t looking for praise, but his fellow volunteers say it is deserving.
“John has a super-big heart and loves people,” said Greg File, who leads a Wednesday night Bible study.
“About anybody you talk to will say they love him, too.
“John works his tail off. He gives his money and time. He amazes me.
There’s a lot of need out here. I’ve had needs myself and this gives me a chance to give back.”
Between serving bowls of soup, volunteer Peg Hedin said she never considered saying ‘no’ when asked to assist.
“It’s a way to help and spend time with some good people,” Hedin said.
Cook arranged for food to be delivered to eight Candlewood individuals who are shut-ins.
When his phone rang and he learned there were other people in need who didn’t have transportation to the pool house, he made an immediate decision.
“We’ll bring them here,” he said and immediately sent a volunteer out to several locations.
Volunteer Steven Barcus is in charge of the clothing donations.
“I take it to my house and launder it, then sort it by size and put it on the rack,” said Barcus, who lives across the street from the poolhouse.
“We’ve received a lot. I didn’t think human beings would be that generous. We’re thankful Mr. (Bud) Parkhill lets us have this building (for the past 15 months).”
The building is open on Mondays and Thursdays, starting at 11 a.m., for those in the community who are in need of clothes or who wish to pick up milk, eggs and bread.
“It takes a good deal of patience and you might dip into your pocket,” Barcus said, “but the big reward is the fulfillment and maybe helping someone through issues.
“It’s a good chance to meet people.”