Gianna Hayes, Contributing Writer
As Wooster changes with the seasons, the blustery days beckon us inside to enjoy apple ciders and hot chocolates. Sure, we could head to Boo Bears, Knowlton Cafe or MacLeod’s coffee shop/convenience store, but besides these lovely locales with coffee to keep our hands warm, there are Wednesdays at Kittredge Dining Hall. Starting Oct. 26, the Wooster Volunteer Network (WVN) resumed their partnership with Campus Dining Services in order to provide students with a way to donate their meal swipes to local charities in the Wooster area at lunchtime every Wednesday. In collaboration with Buehler’s Fresh Foods of Wooster, volunteers serve a variety of soups and breads, always with gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options.
Marjorie Shamp, Director of Campus Dining & Conference Services, said the idea behind the project is to “eat simply, so others can simply eat.” The Soup and Bread program is a long-standing tradition at Wooster, and though the “pandemic shut the program down for a period of time, it is rebuilding and we hope to begin to see more faculty, staff and members of the greater community become involved once again,” said Shamp.
The program offers a variety of soups for everyone to enjoy. From broccoli and cheese to chicken and dumplings, there is a soup to meet any dietary need. While being a nutritious and hearty meal, “soup’s just warm. It’s the perfect meal for a cold day,” said Christian Conde ’24. While soup is also served at the Lowry Dining Hall and Knowlton Cafe, Claire Tobin ’24 said that “this is a solid portion—definitely better than [the to-go portions] at Lowry!” The reusable bowls are another great facet of the program, allowing a more environmentally-conscious approach to dining. If you were looking for further persuasion, Madeline Fields-Halva ’26 said that “the lines are shorter!”
With a spacious, warm and welcoming atmosphere, Kittredge is a great space to host this program. “It’s a really incredible communal event,” said Peter Barker ’23. “It’s a really nice space to have that’s not as busy or as noisy or as overstimulating as Lowry, while still actually doing something good with the space and good with our time.” Students also cited the program’s accessibility, allowing everyone to feel like they can contribute to the community, even through something as seemingly unimportant as a meal swipe. The space of Kittredge also brings people together. As Morgan Hunter ’25 said, “it’s one of my favorite times of the week. It’s a nice way to feel like I’m doing good for my community, and also it’s a very nice way to bring friends together who might not normally eat lunch together every week.”
Put simply, “I enjoy a good bowl of soup,” said Robert Stark ’23. Giving back to your community can really just be as easy as coming to Kittredge to relax with friends and enjoy a comforting bowl of soup and filling bread.
Volunteers at Soup and Bread harp on its convenience and accessibility, with Bella Coenen ’26 reflecting that it is a “super easy way to give back,” as volunteering only takes an hour. If you’re looking for casual and simple ways to give back to your community, you can get involved in Soup and Bread or other service projects by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or on Instagram @wooster_volunteer_network.
Regardless of your level of involvement, Soup and Bread proves to be a rewarding experience for all, highlighting the importance of working together for a charitable cause. This program truly focuses on some of Wooster’s core values, such as being a community and having social responsibility. As the holidays draw nearer and we think of gift-giving and gratitude, we can do our part by contributing at Soup and Bread.