Angel of Springfield



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Mission Statement: Springfield Soup Kitchen serves all who are hungry and in need.

The Angel of Springfield

Once upon a time there lived a Beautiful Southern Lady who had the unbelievable Charm of the Old South. Coming from a poor family of sharecroppers and farmers Carolyn had a heart of gold and knew about hunger and starvation. She traveled working with her husband and raising a family and lived in many cities and towns from the East coast to the West coast. Until one day they came to Springfield, Ohio. They found out that unlike most places where they lived there was one thing different in Springfield. There was no one place every day that people in need could go to get a hot meal.

Carolyn did not understand that with so much food available how this could be. Living on a farm with so much abundance, she started looking for a place to serve those that were in need. Starting in the basement of an old church she started serving hot meals. Well after a while she found out the owners said she would have to move. Carolyn found another location but it had problems of how many people were allowed to occupy the space and according to city code restricted cooking on premises. So she prayed as the number of homeless and desperate people continued to grow. She knocked on doors of churches and organizations throughout downtown Springfield looking for a place to serve. She found beautiful enormous stainless steel kitchens that looked like they were never used. But many could not oblige themselves to such a cause for one reason or another. At that time, she said she knew how Mary and Joseph felt when they heard ‘No room at the Inn’.

Carolyn didn’t give up because she said the Lord God Almighty was telling her ‘Feed my children’. From then on everything was in the hand of God. Providence had its way. She found a place to serve but needed to find out how to pay for it. Well she had no hesitation to use any retirement savings. She felt it was the Lord’s will. Carolyn cashed in her IRA and started to fix up a grease and nicotine caked old bar. She said when we come before God and He asks us why we didn’t do something to help the poor we cannot say we had no means. By the grace of God and through a lot of hard work she transformed the building into the Springfield Soup Kitchen.

Many scorned her for giving to the poor and said she was crazy because so many were taking advantage of getting free meals. Then others called her Blessed. Everyone she served was poor and needy. She loved them all no matter if they were drunk or had Aids or had bed bugs. They came in wheel chairs, some were blind, some were mentally challenged, many were homeless and had nowhere to cook. Many came in crying from such an embarrassment of having to go to a soup kitchen. All were proud people that never needed help before. Carolyn said each time she had a Soup Kitchen there was a new story. She saw too many desperate people shaking uncontrollable from not eating. Many walked from the South from Leffel, the East from Burnett, and North from Harding to get to a hot meal on West Main. Many walked from the hospital after major surgery. One time she was called by nurses from the hospital to help a couple with pregnant wife that had no money and had not eaten in two days. She picked them up and drove them to the Soup Kitchen but before she could feed them the wife fainted. By the grace of God there was a nurse volunteer that help revive and feed her. She often said those the Kitchen served were like an invisible layer of society, a virtual third world that the everyday person in Springfield did not see.

Soon after opening the new location the establishment was blessed by a local priest from the nearby hospital. During the blessing one could feel the negativity and any evil just disappear like a great spiritual lifting. The blessing acted more like an exorcism. From then on many who entered the Soup Kitchen said they felt the Holy Spirit. Volunteers came from many various denominations and faiths and some had no belief in God. Almost two dozen churches , neighborhood associations, Law offices, schools, businesses, law enforcement, youth groups and many others.

Then all at once, more and more patrons started coming to the Springfield Soup Kitchen for much more. After tragedy in their lives they came because they said they felt the Love of God and needed that consolation of helping others. Many just wanted to feel loved. And it is true that the only reason the Soup Kitchen exists is on account of God’s Love for His children.

Soon enough the principalities of darkness lost patience and started their direct assault on this Beautiful Southern Lady. An aggressive cancer took over. Her cooking and sweating over a hot stove came to an end. The wonderful and soothing sound of her piano playing faded. She left for her ultimate goal. She was called home to be with Jesus. The Beautiful Southern Lady is ‘Gone with the Wind’. However, her memory will live on for a long time. Her example of God’s Love for all will not be forgotten. Thank you, Carolyn Stegner, for following God’s Will and what you did for the poor.