Southfield (CW50) – The Capuchins are a religious community of friars inspired by St Francis of Assisi. As Franciscans, they live and work with those who are in need of help. After nearly 800 years, the Capuchins continue to build on this Franciscan tradition through prayer, contemplation, preaching, and caring for the needy.

The Detroit roots for the Capuchins start in 1883, and the Capuchin Soup Kitchen officially started during the Great Depression of 1929, a period of devastating national poverty that caused the poor of this Detroit community to knock on the monastery’s back door asking for bread. People would line up by the thousands, and the friars knew that they had to do everything they could to help everyone in line. The friars turned to the men and women of the Secular Franciscans and joined together with them to collect food from farms, make soup, bake bread and serve meals in the hall next to the monastery.

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Capuchin Soup Kitchen service (Courtesy of Capuchin Soup Kitchen)

Today, the Soup Kitchen provides the community with a variety of programs, including: Meal Program, Substance Abuse, Earthworks Urban Farm, Service Center, Rosa Parks Children’s Program, Spiritual Care, and the On The Rise Bakery. Each program focuses on helping members of the community who are most in need of services in these areas, whether it be a poor family, underserved children, addicts, or the hungry.

One of the main programs, of course, is the Meal Program. Which has been the foundation of the soup kitchen since its beginnings. The two kitchen/dining room sites serve full-course, nutritious meals to hundreds of men, women, and children each day. For times, dates, and locations please visit CSKDetroit.org/Programs/Meal_Program.

Drive-thru Turkey Delivery by the Capuchin Soup Kitchen (Courtesy of Capuchin Soup Kitchen)

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Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Capuchin Soup Kitchen has offered drive-through food distribution and access for those in need. These services include clothing distribution, access to social workers, and a “Shopper’s Choice” pantry.The food pantry distributes more than 10,000 pounds of food each day. Each year, the service also provides turkeys to families without access to one or other traditional Thanksgiving foods.

To learn more, go to CSKDetroit.org

Community Connect Host Jackie Paige, with Brother Gary Wegner, OFM Capuchin, Executive director of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen

Brother Gary Wegner, Executive Director of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, joins Jackie Paige on Community Connect, to talk about the history behind the Capuchins in Detroit, and what their services look like this year during the holidays.

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Watch Community Connect, Saturday at 7am on CW50