Local church opens soup kitchen

By Caitlin Russell | Dec 02, 2012
Photo by: Caitlin Russell Left to right: Lisa Cordeiro, Pastor Bob Cordeiro, and Church Elders Jan and Mark Porter in the Kitchen at River of Life Ministries.

Just in time for the holidays, there's a new place where anyone looking for a hot meal can find one.

River of Life Ministries is now opening its doors at the Old Methodist Meeting House at 495 Main Street every Friday to serve Wareham’s hungry at the By His Hand Soup Kitchen.

“I don’t think we’ve had any homeless, just people in need,” said Pastor Bob Cordeiro, adding that the homeless are certainly welcome.

With the help of his wife, Lisa, and church elders, Pastor Cordeiro has brought to fruition a project aimed at serving the area’s most vulnerable populations.

As Lisa ran back and forth between the pantry and the kitchen preparing dinner, diners trickled in and sat down to mingle before the meal. The atmosphere was warm, and it looked like any other gathering of friends and strangers coming together for a communal meal.

Pastor Cordeiro noted that nearly all the people there had come in cars, underscoring the changing nature of poverty in the United States.

With the growth of the working poor population, many people who have jobs, homes, and cars cannot afford to feed themselves.

Lisa credits Donna Johnson of the Onset Foursquare Church with helping her find food donations. “She was one of my first contacts because she runs [a soup kitchen] at Fouresquare,” said Lisa.

The doors open every Friday at 5:15 p.m., and dinner is served at 6. Lisa is the main chef, and keeps the menu fresh with meals such as shepherd’s pie and minestrone soup with garlic bread.

Pastor Cordeiro says that effort "took a lot of reaching out to different food banks.” Volunteers marshaled resources from local donors,including Damien’s Place food pantry, and pantries in Plymouth. Lisa worked hard to network among local businesses, reaching out to more than two dozen, including Walmart, BJs, and the Nissen Baking Company.

“Right now, we’re running on donations,” said Lisa. “We’re hoping to do fundraisers.”

In the meantime, the volunteers are looking for all the donations they can get, and have begun the application process to get donations from the Boston Food Bank.

Pastor Cordeiro says the church's goal is to help the community. In addition to the soup kitchen, the church holds Bible study for recovering addicts, as well as men’s and women’s separate Bible study sessions.

“My wife has gotten involved in a ministry type counseling where we try to help people overcome their addictions," Pastor Cordeiro added.

River of Life is a non-denominational Protestant church, and is open three days per week.

For now, the church rents the Old Methodist Meeting House, while members are on the hunt for a permanent location.

"We’re hoping to find a home building where we can be open six days a week," said Pastor Cordeiro.

Pastor Cordeiro's plans for the future also include hosting a “coffee house,” during which a Christian musician would minister through music, while congregants enjoy coffee and snacks.

But River of Life's fundamental goal will always remain the same: “It’s all about helping the community," Pastor Cordeiro said.

To volunteer, contact Pastor Cordeiro at rev.cordeiro@verizon.net. Donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 535, Wareham MA, 02571.

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