Giving to the community: Inside St. Vincent de Paul Parish’s soup kitchen

Food insecurity is a big issue in Chicago. There are several organizations across the city fighting against hunger to improve the quality of life of those in need. One of these spaces is St. Vincent de Paul Parish where their clients range from the homeless to the housing secure who struggle to afford food.

As early as 7:00 a.m. DePaul students and Lincoln Park community volunteers prep meals for their 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. service. A huge challenge for the parish is that it has a small dining space only fits 24 people but serves about 150 clients each week. As a result, many clients must take their food to go or limit their dining space use for other clients.

What goes into developing a menu? It happens sensibly. Although the menu will change each week, clients can always expect bread, a protein, a desert and a drink every day. According to Father Dan Borlik, a Catholic priest and manager of the St. Vincent de Paul Parish’s kitchen, the process for developing a menu each day depends on their donations from Costco or Chartwells, a catering company working with DePaul.

Before opening the parish’s doors, a volunteer will lead the team in prayer signaling the end of prep and the beginning of service.


Entrance to the food panty and soup kitchen that St. Vincent de Paul Parish clients enter 6 days a week at 8:00 a.m. (Robin Mosley Jan. 24, 2019)


St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church at Webster Ave. Chicago, Ill. (Robin Mosley Jan. 24, 2019)


Bible verse on the door of the partition separating the prep area and eating space. (Robin Mosley Jan. 24, 2019)


Volunteers prepping chicken in the oven and opening food boxes. (Robin Mosley Jan. 24, 2019)


Volunteer prepping eating utensils and food. (Robin Mosley Jan. 24, 2019)


Father Dan (left) and a volunteer gathering socks from the basement to give out to clients as a part of the parish’s new clothing initiative. (Robin Mosley Jan. 24, 2019)


Brownies and pound cake divided to stretch portions to feed their clients. (Robin Mosley Jan. 24, 2019)


To go bags for clients who are unable to stay in-house and clients interested in getting food and leaving. (Robin Mosley Jan. 24, 2019)


Larger view of the partition separating volunteers and clients. Volunteers are engaged in prayer before they open their doors. (Robin Mosley Jan. 24, 2019)


Picture of Thursday’s team as they get ready to open their doors to serve food. (Robin Mosley Jan. 24, 2019)

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