Feed’em Soup (FES) Community Project, a registered 501(c)3, is a meal provider service, in DeKalb, Illinois, in which any person in the community can take advantage of its services regardless of situation, background, or ability to pay. The idea behind FES is a simple but uniquely different one. FES operates like a restaurant, with servers, bussers, and a trained chef, and all meals are cooked with the freshest ingredients possible on the day of the meal. FES prides itself on not only creating delicious cuisine but, also, providing well-balanced, nutritious meals. FES serves dinner every Wednesday, which is open to the public and is always free of charge. However, guests may donate if they are willing and able.
In addition to a free community meal, FES also offers an emergency food pantry, a clothing closet, offering disadvantaged residents free attire and basic necessities, and a children’s program designed to promote the importance of nutrition and healthy eating habits.
FES is an independent organization that relies on local donors and business sponsors to help achieve its mission.
The Past, the Present, and the Future
FES was founded by a group of enthusiastic twenty-something year-olds in January of 2010. The original group had no knowledge, experience, or education as to how a nonprofit organization operated. Nevertheless, with their passion to help those in need and with the love and support of the DeKalb community, the project flourished.
For the first two years, FES served meals only twice a month. However, because of such success, meal service was increased to every Wednesday, beginning in January of 2013. FES hopes to continue its growth by offering more meal services each week in the near future.
Furthermore, attendance on meal days has increased by 600 percent since FES first opened its doors, and, on average, FES feeds nearly 300 people at each meal. These numbers will only grow if and when FES increases the frequency of its meal service.
In regards to its location, FES is in the heart of downtown DeKalb. Originally, it shared space with The Church in DeKalb, but, in May of 2013, The Church moved into its own building, leaving FES with the entire space. Although FES was happy to make the space its own, many costly renovations followed to bring the building up to code. With help from grants, and from donations from businesses and individuals in the community, FES was able to create a warm, safe, and inviting environment for those in need.