Local soup kitchen serves food with ladles of love
Every Wednesday in Indian Head, people in need of a free hot meal will find a soup kitchen where the food is cooked with love and will keep their stomachs warm.
Arline Arnold is a co-founder of Ladles of Love soup kitchen at Metropolitan United Methodist Church, along with six other women who decided to have an eat one/take one theme. She and her husband, Clarence Arnold, are also the founders of The Arnold House, a soup kitchen which originated out of their home in Waldorf.
“What the name represents for us is that as cooks, the ladle is
everything in the kitchen and everybody has one whether you can cook or not,” Arline said. “It’s just a symbol of us serv- ing our community every Wednesday night. We’re a family getting together to serve other families who need a meal. Plus there’s no better joy than seeing someone eat food that you prepared and enjoy it. There’s no better joy than that.”
Arline said the Ladles of Love soup kitchen feeds 100-120 people every Wednesday and sometimes even up to 160 people when the weather permits. Each night is sponsored by someone — a family, organization or communi- ty member. Sponsors pay $175 and it covers the en- tire meal, paper products and even dessert.
“I can stretch a dollar,” Arline said.
While the ladies in charge do all of the shop- ping and cooking, the sponsors can come in, socialize and come see the result of what they have paid for.
“To grow to this many people has really been eye-opening,” said Ar- line. “It’s more of a family setting. The same people come back and bring friends. It’s been a year, so there are familiar faces. I can happily thankfully say that we have never missed a Wednesday this year. We work really hard.”
Arline said many local senior citizens will come in to eat and then pack up a meal to take to someone they know who is homeless, disabled, a shut-in or without transportation.
Indian Head resident Vernon Smith said he and about 10 to 15 other locals from the Indian Head Senior Center attend every week and take food to someone else who needs it.
“This soup kitchen really wants to serve the people who are hurting and need a free, hot meal,” Smith said. “The beauty of it is that people bring their kids. They come, they serve, they’re sweet and when you start teaching kids at an early age to be givers, you can’t beat that.”
Volunteer Dorcie Mar- shall said the loving, fam- ily-friendly environment is prevalent at the restaurant-style soup kitchen with additional volunteers who serve people at each table.
“People enjoy coming out and that’s a good feel- ing for me,” Marshall said. “This part of Charles County is so neglected and not everyone here is homeless. This soup kitchen is well-needed in the community. Senior cit- izens like to come here. It’s always good to get the young people to come out because this generation is so spoiled, so it’s good for them to see that there are others who are less fortu- nate and they’re here mak- ing a difference.”
Garcia Buckley is a vol- unteer with Rachel’s Chal- lenge, an anti-bullying club at Matthew Henson Middle School. Buckley brought 10 students and their parents to the Ladles of Love Soup Kitchen on Dec. 14. The after-school club spends its time per- forming random acts of kindness throughout the local community.
“The kids love it,” Buck- ley said. “They want to serve the people and help others. We have different types of service projects throughout the year, but I love this place. I’m so hap- py we are partnering with them for the first time and we hope to continue it in the future.”
Louis Bassett, 12, a stu- dent at Matthew Henson Middle School, said he enjoyed serving food and bringing each person what they requested. He said the experience helped him understand that life is all about giving, not taking.
“It’s pretty cool that they bring homeless people here to get food for free,” Louis said. “I like how I get to talk to them. They are polite. If I were homeless, I would like to be able come here, where other kids serve things to me.”
“It’s good to help out families that are in need,” said his mother, Alicia Bassett. “Around the holidays I think it shows [my son] that it’s about more than just presents.”
The Ladles of Love soup kitchen also picks up food from MOM’s in Waldorf on Mondays and Wednesdays, and the goods are made available to everyone who shows up at the soup kitchen. Anyone interested in sponsorship and volunteer opportunities can call Arnold at 202494-7556.
Arline Arnold, a co-founder of Ladles of Love soup kitchen at Metropolitan United Methodist Church, socializes with senior citizens as they eat the meal she helped prepare.
Louis Bassett, 12, a Rachel’s Challenge anti-bullying club member at Matthew Henson Middle School, serves soup to Bryans Road resident Aria McClean, 2, at Ladles of Love soup kitchen on Dec. 14.
Garcia Buckley, a volunteer with Rachel’s Challenge anti-bullying club at Matthew Henson Middle School, serves cake baked by cofounder Arline Arnold at the Ladles of Love soup kitchen in Indian Head on Dec. 14.
Julian Revelle, 13, a Rachel’s Challenge anti-bullying club member at Matthew Henson Middle School, serves food and chats with senior citizens at the Ladles of Love soup kitchen on Dec. 14.