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Depression-era Soup Kitchens

Depression-era Soup Kitchens



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Soup kitchens in America started around 1929 when the effects of a growing depression began to be felt. Governmental Unemployment Relief ranged from nonexistent to inadequate.When soup kitchens first appeared, they were run by churches or private charities. The Capuchin Services Center in southeast Detroit, for example, served 1,500 to 3,000 people a day. Volunteers of America also was important in setting up soup kitchens all over America.By the mid-1930s, state and federal governments also were operating them.Soup kitchens served mostly soup and bread. Soup was economical because water could be added to serve more people, if necessary.At the outset of the Depression, Al Capone, the notorious gangster from Chicago, established the first soup kitchen. Capone`s kitchen served three meals a day to ensure that everyone who had lost a job could get a meal.Every city and town had a soup kitchen. Kitchens would either be run outdoors, in churches, cafeterias, or service centers.Soup kitchens still exist for homeless persons and struggling families across America. For example, Volunteers of America is now involved with children`s daycare as well as family, elder, housing, correctional and emergency services.