Open Door Soup Kitchen moving locations, seeks expansion

By Catharin Shepard • Editor • The Open Door Soup Kitchen will be changing locations at the end of January, and hopes to resume offering hot meal service in the future as well as giving away boxes of groceries.

More than that, the organizers plan to kick off a fundraiser soon to raise money to go to support helping even more people.

After 10 years of operating in locations on Oakdale Gin Road, then on Turnpike Road, the soup kitchen is moving to downtown Raeford.

Open Door Soup Kitchen will be moving out of its current location on Turnpike Road and into the former Hoke Domestic Violence Center building at 225 Main Street in Raeford, with plans to open in the new location February 1.


The soup kitchen helps people in need in many ways. Before the pandemic, the organization was able to offer homecooked hot meals. When the pandemic hit, the soup kitchen changed gears to operate as a food pantry, giving away boxes of groceries three times a week.

Ever since, they’ve been feeding hundreds of people in Hoke County through the grocery giveaways. Recently the soup kitchen has been providing groceries to upwards of 1,200 people a month – if not more – according to their numbers, Rev. Al Anderson said. People are welcome to come all three days if they need, to make sure families are fed. The giveaways are on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday each week unless otherwise specified.

Once the organization is moved into its new location on Main Street, the plan is to begin offering hot meals again, Anderson said. They even plan on having a drive-through service to be able to serve people efficiently.

A registered 501c3 nonprofit, Open Door Soup Kitchen is overseen by a board of directors and is completely volunteer-driven. It relies on grants, food bank support and donations from generous citizens to fulfill its mission of feeding the hungry.

“For the last 10 years we’ve been using just volunteers, donations and small grants,” Anderson said of the program.

Besides working with programs like Second Harvest Food Bank to provide groceries, the soup kitchen has also received support from Walmart, Food Lion, Manna Church, Mountaire, House of Raeford and many other donors.

The soup kitchen also works in other ways. The group has a clothes closet and has assisted people who are homeless with getting temporary shelter. When it has resources available to do so, the organization offers help with utility bills, and with small home repairs for elderly.

This year the Open Door Soup Kitchen will be conducting the “point in time” count to get an accurate look at how many people in Hoke County are homeless. Anderson and others with the soup kitchen have assisted the state with the count before, but this year the number seem higher than ever. Anderson estimated he knows of at least 25 to 30 people in Hoke County who have nowhere to go, and said that number “seems to be rising.”

In response to the growing need, Anderson said, the Open Door Soup Kitchen plans to hold a GoFundMe fundraiser to raise money to support building a new facility.

“We want to raise money for a new building so that we can continue feeding (people), where we can start preparing hot meals in our own building,” Anderson said.

Potentially, the money could also go toward things like upkeep and running the soup kitchen. 

And, depending on what the future holds, the soup kitchen would like to have a shelter for people who are homeless.

More on that could be coming soon. For now, the soup kitchen wanted to offer thanks to its many donors who give to others. As a special thanks to its supporters, the soup kitchen provided a list of those who have worked to aid in its work:

Margaret Hathaway

Linda Rose

Walmart

J.W.  McLauchlin Elementary School

Representative Garland Pierce

Sheriff Roderick Virgil

Commissioner James Leach

Commissioner Harry Southerland  

Hoke County Civic League

Knights of Columbus

Hoke G.O.P. 

Hans Schermerhorn

Janice Clark

Center Grove Missionary Baptist Church

Lewis chapel 

Shiloh Baptist church

Hillcrest Baptist Church

Manna Church

Buck-Bucks Honey

Bishop Darwin Johnson & Family

Pastor Carolyn Moore

Chris Holland

James Wesly 

Antioch Presbyterian Church

Food drives from: Fidelity Bank, First Health Hoke campus, Hoke Board of Education. 

“And to all the names I might have left out, thank you so much. I’m truly grateful and humbled by all of you that believe in what we are doing in our community,” Anderson said. “I thank you for helping the Hoke County Open Door Soup Kitchen to help others. We believe that ‘teamwork makes the dream work,’ and I quote, ‘we are stronger together.’”

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