Each year, the number of meals served through RIFA’s many ministries continues to grow, with over 76,000 meals served in the soup kitchen last year alone. We can’t say with certainty why this number was so high, but we do know what scripture tells us in Deuteronomy 15:11, “There will always be some in the land who are poor.”

The RIFA Soup Kitchen is more than just a place to eat—it is a community, a safe place and a sanctuary for the people we serve, and Tommy’s story is an example of just that.

Tommy is a kind and gentle man who did not have the easiest childhood—he was abandoned as a baby, found in a pasture, put into foster care and later adopted. Although Tommy faced many challenges growing up, he was able to graduate from high school and work in several restaurants until some serious health issues developed, which made full-time employment a challenge.

When Tommy came to RIFA nine years ago, he was looking for a hot meal and a safe place to find help to solve the challenges he was facing. What he found was a staff who was able to help connect him to the resources he needed and provide him with a daily hot meal in the Soup Kitchen. Most importantly, at RIFA, Tommy found a community that cared about him at a time when he was vulnerable and felt alone.

It wasn’t long before he began volunteering by washing dishes and continues to do so even to this day.

The Soup Kitchen is so much more than just a hot meal for Tommy. It is his family. It is a community. It is a safe place for him to come.

It is a place where he is loved. It is a place where he can give back.

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