Monday, August 12, 2013
Like today, debate raged over the question, did soup kitchen discourage self-reliance? Or did it perpetuate the problem? The popularity declined in the 1820s. The Salvation Army is notable for keeping its food depots open through all economic and political climates.
Soup kitchens revived in the wake of Black Monday, October 28, 1929, when Wall Street crashed. For instance, the of the Capuchin Service Center of Detroit started up less than a week later, on November 2, and fed 1,500-3,000 people a day. For many, their soup kitchen meal was the only food they had all day.
Volunteers of America started during this era and has remained one of the biggest providers, expanding their services to other social services such as children's daycare and services for the elderly.
The biggest surprise (even more so Count Rumford) is that gangster Al Capone began the frst soup kitchen in Chicago in an effort to clean up his bad boy image.
The need for food relief has waxed and waned. Of course, soup kitchens no longer serve soup exclusively. The 1980s saw a resurgence of services and then again as recently as 2006.