SOUPZ ON commenced operations on 15 April 2016. It was started by Wayne and Rosie, as an outreach ministry of the Vines Community Church in Abermain, and under the guidance of Global Care Australia. The team of two quickly grew with the addition of Anna and Leonnie.
With the support of Troy at “Music for Life” in North Ave, Cessnock, Soupz On found a location to set up and begin providing services to the homeless of Cessnock. From the start Soupz On was intended to serve not just the homeless, but also those in the community doing in tough and finding it hard to meet bills and put food on the table. The Food Bank located at the Vines Church provided much of the food needed.
Support for Soupz On grew rapidly and several local businesses provided donations or discounted items to help toward the now growing needs of the soup kitchen. As word spread, more of the homeless started to attend the Friday and Saturday night service, and became regular faces for the Soupz On team.
After a short time the team grew further with the addition of Kerry, and later Christine, however in April 2017 Christine chose to leave the team in order to pursue other interests, and in September 2017 Kerry chose to leave due to personal reasons. This brings the total current front-line team to four.
SOUPZ ON front-line team (L to R); Front: Leonnie, former member Kerry (aka Pocket-Rocket). Back: Anna, Wayne, Rosie.
This team is not just comprised of members of the Vines Church; unlike many “outreach ministry” groups it is comprised of members of more than one church or denomination as well as Christ loving people who do not belong to any particular church. Their focus is to bring the love of Christ to those in the community many of us forget; the homeless, the downtrodden, those finding it hard to make ends meet, and even those who just want someone to share a coffee and a chat with – not through preaching but through simple love and kindness.
The Soupz On team are now looking for a more permanent home; somewhere they can provide services not just two nights a week, but maybe more (and more services as well). Although the team have an idea where this could be, it will require support from Cessnock City Council and the community before it can happen.
With the closure of Music for Life the kitchen is now, effectively, homeless itself. It continues to operate from TAFE park, Darwin St Cessnock (opposite the Coles loading dock), but without electricity or storage this has limited what we can do. If you would like to help us find this new home, in whatever way, then please contact us.
Pete Ingleson was a member of the Vines Church in Abermain. Pete had a heart for the homeless and was the inspiration for a soup kitchen (Pete’s Diner). Pete passed away before his dream could be realised, so when Soupz On was formed it was fitting that his dream and memory was recognised with the name “SOUPZ ON at Pete’s Diner”.