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It was a May night and Joyce Hamilton couldn’t sleep any longer, awakened by a dream that seemed too real to discard.
“I had a vision that the Lord was telling me to feed the hungry,” she said. “Whenever God gives a vision, he gives a provision.”
Her husband, Terriance, told her to go back to sleep. In the days that followed, he saw something in his wife that made him understand how serious she was about the direction their life soon would take: He saw compassion.
On Aug. 5, the Hamiltons, with the help of many who have offered food and essentials and others who have offered time, will open The Lord’s Supper Soup Kitchen at 728 Knox Blvd. in Radcliff, a former doughnut shop which later served as a tattoo parlor.
“If I don’t see compassion, I could not get behind it,” he said. “I’d wake up at 3 a.m. and she’s already up writing about The Lord’s Supper Soup Kitchen.”
The Hamiltons invested their own money and time to make the dream a reality.
Terriance is active duty in the U.S. Army; Joyce is retired from the Army and now works at Fort Knox with the Wounded Warrior program.
The couple said the mission is their way of helping those who need a hot meal, a friend to talk to or guidance on what direction to take in life.
Joyce knows all too well of the struggles of life. At 20, she was homeless and living wherever she could find shelter in New York City. That was her life for a year. Then she joined the Army and felt compelled to help others.
“I spent a year homeless,” she said. “I’ve gone from the pit to the palace.”
Much has been done in the last several months to get the building ready. There have been many donations, including six months of free rent by the owner of the building.
Once the kitchen is open, the Hamiltons have plenty in store for their clients. To start, the 50-seat soup kitchen will be open from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday to provide a hot meal with a “no questions asked, open-door policy.”
“We want people here to be comfortable,” Terriance said.
That is why those who attend will be served their food at tables. There will be local preachers in attendance and music playing.
“We want an atmosphere like their home and (for them) to feel loved,” Joyce said. “We want to treat them with dignity and respect.”
On a recent walk to a Radcliff mobile home park to get the word out about what they were doing, the Hamiltons saw need before their eyes.
“One man was sitting outside and he said, ‘I don’t know where my food today will come from,’” Terriance said. “That was powerful.”
The Hamiltons said a hot meal is just the starting point for those who arrive. They call The Lord’s Supper Soup Kitchen a “linking agency” for life skills, career training and job placement programs as well as spiritual counseling.
“If we change a life a day, we have accomplished our mission,” Terriance said.
The Hamiltons said there may be an opportunity to expand to additional meal days.
“I didn’t think twice that I could do it,” Joyce said. “It was a mission that was possible.”
Jeff D’Alessio can be reached at (270) 505-1757 or email@example.com.
A meeting of those interested in volunteering at The Lord’s Supper Soup Kitchen is at noon Saturday at 728 Knox Blvd.