By Louise Horton
For many years a popular soup kitchen was held in the old Epiphany Episcopal Church on Prairie Avenue in South Providence. After the closing of the church, the volunteers continued to offer the meal there for as long as they could. Finally, it became necessary to move the soup kitchen to a downtown church. They stayed at this convenient location for three years, until the RI Community food bank, not satisfied with the kitchen facilities there, stopped supplying the Epiphany Food Kitchen with food.
Presently, the kitchen is hosted by St. Stephen’s Church at 114 George Steet on the East Side. The kitchen is large and the dining room is light and airy. It is on the second floor, but there is an elevator. A full meal is served, with dessert and coffee or a cold drink.
It is appropriate that the Epiphany Soup Kitchen meets at St. Stephen’s. Stephen was a deacon in the early church, chosen with six others to serve meals to the needy so that the Apostles themselves could spend their time preaching the Gospel.
A long-time volunteer says that it is a nice part of the city to visit; the only problem with the site is that only a couple dozen diners find their way there. If you don’t want to climb College Hill, take the Fox Point Trolley or any tunnel bus and get off at Thayer Street at the end of the tunnel, then cross Waterman Street and continue on Thayer for one block- turn right onto George Street and you will see the church.
To increase attendance, posters have been placed in Fox Point, and workers plan to give personal invitations. It is also hoped that a bus can be obtained to run from Crossroads and Kennedy Plaza.
If you look up as you enter the parish house you will see a life-sized statue of Saint Stephen. He is holding out his chef’s apron, full of bread, welcoming diners to a goods meal. The Spirit of St. Stephen lives on at the Epiphany Soup Kitchen every Saturday evening at 4:00pm.