BY STEPHANIE SALVADERO, Guest Reporter
Five University of Michigan-Dearborn students from Kappa Omega Chi Sorority joined a team of approximately 40 volunteers at Crossroads Soup Kitchen in downtown Detroit on February 19.
Donning freshly washed hands with plastic gloves and forming an assembly line in the kitchen, volunteers worked together from 11:30am to 3pm to fill hundreds of lunch bags with large cups of hot soup, ham sandwiches, oranges, and chocolate chip cookies. Volunteers warmly welcomed guests as they gave them one packed lunch each, a Styrofoam cup of cold water, and the choice of freshly brewed coffee or fruit juice. The group prepared nearly 900 hot meals.
Every Sunday afternoon from 12pm to 3pm, Crossroads Soup Kitchen serves a hot meal to all guests who come. Receiving one ticket for one meal each, guests can receive additional meal tickets if they present valid identification for community members who are unable to make the trip to the center.
Founded in 1971, Crossroads “is a social service outreach agency with two locations in Detroit” (2424 West Grand Boulevard and 21230 Moross) and “exists to support the community at large by providing emergency assistance, advocacy, and counseling to anyone in need”, according to their website (http://www.crossroadsofmichigan.org/).
Volunteer Coordinator for the Soup Kitchen, Janice Coleman, explained, “We at Crossroads work very hard to meet the needs of the people in the community who are less fortunate or may be struggling”.
According to Coleman, the Sunday Soup Kitchen served 38,846 hot meals in 2011 alone.
Volunteers are at the heart of helping Crossroads serve the community.
Kappa Omega Chi Sorority is a local chapter dedicated to volunteer service in southeast Michigan and is heavily focusing on community involvement throughout the Winter 2012 semester.
“Contact was made to many soup kitchens via email and phone messages but we chose Crossroads for many reasons,” explained President Susan Jamison. “It’s important to give back to the community, especially the Metro Detroit area. Crossroads needed volunteers and we wanted to help. To be a part of Sunday’s operation was truly rewarding.”
Serving others and philanthropic endeavors are highly valued within the sorority. Kappa Omega Chi’s local philanthropy, Mercy Education Project (MEP), is a Detroit-based non-profit organization that provides free educational programs to low-income girls and women in inner city Detroit. As volunteer preparations are being made to support MEP with their 20th Anniversary Doorway to the Future Dinner this coming May, additional opportunities to serve at Crossroads Soup Kitchen are also on the horizon.
As the five Kappa Omega Chi ladies prepared to leave and were saying their goodbyes, Coleman warmly offered, “Any Sunday you want to come volunteer in the kitchen again, please, give me a call. It was a great pleasure working with you.”
Accepting the invitation, Kappa Omega Chi is sure to return to the Crossroads Sunday Soup Kitchen in the near future.