At noon on Monday, the Salvation Army served its first meal at “Willy’s Diner,” the newest soup kitchen in Middlesboro.
The soup kitchen, which operates out of The Salvation Army’s fellowship hall, has been a long-awaited dream come true.
Lieutenants Jason and Sarah Quinn, the corps officers (pastors & administrators) of the Salvation Army, have been working toward seeing this day since their arrival in June.
“Captains Adrian and Karen Twinney really wanted to see this happen,” said Jason Quinn. “It was their dream to see The Salvation Army serve the community in this way.”
The Twinneys had done the leg work to make this dream a reality, but the Quinns still had to wait a few months for the final pieces to fall into place. After patiently waiting and working, everything is finally coming together.
“We are still working out the kinks in the program, but we are excited to finally have it up and running,” said Sarah Quinn. “We believe that this will be a help and an encouragement to our community.”
According to the Quinns, Willy’s is meant to be a place where anyone in the community can feel comfortable coming in for a good meal. It does not matter if you are rich or poor, successful or barely getting by. All that matters is that you come in with a good appetite.
The food is offered free of charge, but donations are gladly accepted. Whatever you are able and willing to pay is gladly received.
Grocery store and restaurant partners help to provide the food used in the soup kitchen, but monetary donations help to cover the cost of the paper products needed to keep things operating smoothly.
The soup kitchen has been named after the Salvation Army’s founder, William Booth. Although there is no evidence that he was ever called “Willy,” the nickname seemed to fit best with the atmosphere of the place.
Booth spent the majority of his life serving the people around him. His ministry was often called, “Soup, Soap and Salvation” because he understood that a person’s physical needs can interfere with one’s concern for spiritual matters. He believed that meeting physical needs provided an opportunity to meet spiritual needs, as well. The Salvation Army continues to operate on this principle today.
Currently, Willy’s Diner is serving lunch from noon to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday. If you find yourself near 18th Street around noon, be sure to stop by for a great meal and good fellowship.
Volunteers may contact Jason Quinn about opportunities.