Serving Hope at Motown Soup

October 18, 2021

A Time to Help volunteers returned to a familiar project Saturday (Oct. 16) to help a likeminded volunteer-driven nonprofit: Motown Soup.

Working in the lower level of Trinity Lutheran Church on Van Dyke Ave., more than two dozen volunteers filled dry soup, mixes and spice packets to help stock Motown Soup’s shelves heading into the holiday season. The nonprofit sells the food products, with all proceeds going to help charities and community organizations in need.

Unfortunately, the length of the project was reduced from three to two hours because the kitchen and work areas needed to prepare for a reception. But that didn’t deter the volunteers’ efforts: A total of 1,428 packets were filled. Leading the way was the group that packaged “Apple Cider Muffin Topping’’ with 430.

In accordance with CDC guidelines, the project was mask-optional, instead of mandatory. SAY Detroit was grateful for a Motown Soup bonus: The nonprofit donated 20 soups to support SAY Detroit’s Wellness Wednesdays program.

“This is a great group,’’ said Dan Kennedy, a longtime Motown Soup volunteer who coordinated ATTH’s project participation Saturday. “It (2020) was a tough year. It’s been great to get back, and even greater to see some of the normal pre-pandemic stuff coming back, like the craft shows’’ and other events where Motown Soup sells its products.

For Ruma Barua, A Time to Help has always been a family affair. She and her husband, Dave, have been volunteering with SAY Detroit since the late 1990s, when founder Mitch Albom announced on his radio show that he was forming a new program to galvanize volunteerism in the community. Joining the couple on Saturday was their son, daughter-in-law, and their son’s mother-in-law.

“We do it because we feel so blessed in life and want to give back,” Ruma said. “We enjoy the new people we meet and getting together with the old friends we’ve made over the years.”