Soup kitchens often conjure imagery of lines of homeless people in scruffy clothing, holding out a tray as someone slops unrecognizable food on it. The dreary colors, smells and sense of anguish can easily fill the mind. However, the families suffering from food insecurity may surprise you, and while Lake Norman may be considered an affluent area, the number of individuals who are food insecure is alarming.
Food insecurity is inherently tied to income and is caused by many factors including unemployment, underemployment, a medical crisis, rising cost of living, stagnant wages, lack of access to resources, single parent households, plus numerous other unexpected life occurrences. It can be your neighbor next door, the person checking you out at the grocery store, or the customer service person on the other end of the phone line.
People in need are often disparaged as being lazy, incompetent, unable or unwilling to change their lives. However, research has shown that making good decisions and having the ability to take initiative toward a better life requires a lot of attention, planning, and mental discipline. How do you do this when your mind is busy being filled with thinking about being hungry, or how to get an extra shift to cover your rent, gas in the car, or the next meal on the table? If your focus must be on the immediate daily needs of your family, how do you also plan for a better life?
For poor families, something as simple as rising energy prices can create a difficult tradeoff between buying food, staying warm, or having enough gas in the car. Unfortunately, the default often becomes that parents skip meals themselves and reduce the quantity or quality of the food to compensate. The cascading effects of these decisions are often health issues and malnutrition, which has lasting consequences.
Food insecure adults are more likely to suffer diabetes, obesity, and depression. Children living in food insecure homes face higher risks of iron deficiency anemia, more frequent stomachaches, headaches, colds, and are more prone to developmental and academic problems.
Children that continually go hungry often have poor health, behavioral and emotional problems, and difficulties in socializing with peers.
Obesity among food insecure children is also extremely common due to the low quality of the food they receive, which has it own cascading effect.
Angels and Sparrows Soup Kitchen offers hope and is unique in its understanding that our guests need our programs and services for a variety of reasons. Each program we offer is designed to fulfill the need with dignity and love without requesting proof of the need.
We believe ALL people deserve access to a nutritious meal and that it should be served in an environment that respects the dignity of the individual.
Hope often begins with a simple, nutritious meal served with a smile, restaurant style, in a warm environment, surrounded by people of all races, creeds, colors, ages, religions and backgrounds. The atmosphere in our 2,000 square foot, red schoolhouse style building is vibrant and filled with laughter, conversation, and smiles. Our guests share a meal, a story, and often a hug with their fellow guests and our volunteers.
More than the numbers, we provide a place for the often disenfranchised to come together for a meal with old and new friends. We’ve removed the stress of going hungry on some days for these families. We’ve removed the need for the elderly to choose between a meal and purchasing their medications.
We exist so our guests can focus on things that matter in life such as their jobs, education, and a plan for the future; and so that people of all ages, ethnicities, and walks of life can enjoy a nutritious meal regardless of the unexpected occurrences in life.
Angels & Sparrows serves a nourishing lunch, Monday through Friday 11 am-1 pm, year round to anyone who needs our help.