Motown Soup 2010 Sales Provide $55,000 to Help Metro Area Hungry and the Homeless
(Utica, MI) “A $55,000 profit translates into a lot of soup,” quipped Patti Jacques, president of the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries Auxiliary as well as a Motown Soup steering committee member. “This is our 6th year of ‘dividends’ from the Motown Soup venture which has now directly shared a total of $176,000 with Metro area homeless shelters and soup kitchens. We keep just enough seed money for the coming year—and give the rest to Detroit area shelters, soup kitchens, and food pantries. The Soup Project just keeps growing each year.”
Motown United Ministries (also known as “Motown Soup”) is a collaboration of volunteers who produce premium soup mixes and also market them. In 2003, facilitator of the project, Dan Karlin, invited eight shelters and ministries to collaborate on the soup project. Four responded to plan. When volunteers were needed, only two, the DRMM and Macomb County’s MCREST program shared the work. After two years, MCREST stepped back from the steering committee when they were unable to provide the needed leadership.
The kitchen of Trinity Lutheran Church in Utica was licensed by Motown Soup with the State Department of Agriculture in 2004 in order to get the collaboration moving. Many of the volunteers who make the products and sell them also come from Trinity. The church also provides storage space for their inventory.
Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries has spent 100 years of providing shelter, food, and more to the homeless and the forgotten in Detroit. They shelter 1200 people each night and provide 4000 meals each day.
“When we organized this collaboration,” noted Bruce Calderwood, DRMM representative, “we wrote in the practice of tithing on our earnings to other ministries and agencies who also work with the homeless and the hungry.” While the major portion of this year’s $55,000 ‘dividend’ is shared with the DRMM, former partner MCREST is remembered each year with a check.
The ‘tithe’ of $5000 from the 2010 sales was shared with checks of $1375 each to Gleaners Community Food Bank and to Forgotten Harvest. Both are very heavy hitters in sharing food with people in need. Three additional ministries/agencies from each of the metro counties each received $250 to balance out the $5000 tithe.
Receiving checks were:
- Macomb Homeless Coalition
- Hope Center
- Turning Point
- South Oakland Shelter
- Baldwin Center
- Power Company for Kids
- Open Door at Fort Street Presbyterian
- S.A.Y. Detroit Clinic
- Friendship House
“Over the years we have shifted from a line of all bean soups to a wider range, including many ‘ready in 20 minute’ soup mixes”, said Darlene Mehrer, one of the volunteers who sells soup mixes at area craft shows. “We are blessed by so many returning customers who search for us at craft shows. Each year’s sales continue to grow.”
A number of churches as well as other organizations have sold Motown Soup mixes as fundraisers for themselves. Mixes are also available through local retailers including R. Hirt Jr. in the Eastern Market, Country Traditions in Ray Township, Merri-Craft Florist in Farmington, and Marmar Gourmet in Tawas among other retail outlets as far away as Iowa.
Production of the mixes happens on most Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to noon and 7 –9 p.m. at Trinity. “We solve all the world’s problems as we work,“ laughed Phyllis Hamilton. “It’s a great feeling to know how much we help others just by assembling dry soup mixes!”
“This is really a win-win project,” noted Calderwood. “Groups who sell the mixes win by receiving a slice of the sales price. The homeless and the hungry are the ultimate winners when provided services due to the ‘dividend.’”
For more information or to volunteer,
Phone 586-731-4490 ext. 3.
Mixes can be shipped for you or picked up at Trinity when pre-ordered. The church is located at 45160 Van Dyke, Utica MI 48317