The leaves crunched loudly as Sally strolled through the park with Amber, her young golden retriever. The morning air was crisp enough to wear a sweater but it was still a comfortable walk to the restaurant. The puppy ran beside her, fascinated with the colorful leaves twirling and falling to the ground. They were both having a good time stepping on them.
Sally crossed the street and saw the long line by Grace Baptist Church. With the weather getting colder, the number of homeless people seemed to double. She thought as she pulled out her keys to open the restaurant. Amber wagged her tail and waited patiently for Sally to open the door and then shot right past her for the water bowl. The puppy almost fell into the empty bowl but her little hind legs caught herself in time.
“Are you thirsty, little one?” Sally joked, rubbing the back of her ears. Amber barked in reply.
Sally refilled the water bowl and set it down near the back door. While Amber splashed water all over herself and the floor, Sally washed her hands and looked over the day’s recipe. She purchased some nice pumpkins from the farmer’s market yesterday and wanted to create something special. She was pleased with the menu she wrote last night.
“Thai-spiced Pumpkin Soup; Carrots with Nutmeg & Cinnamon; Seasoned Green Beans; Oven-Roasted Chicken; Dinner Rolls; and French Silk Pie”
Sally heard scratching on the front door. Amber doesn’t usually do that. She thought.
“Stop, Amber!” She yelled, wiping her hands on her apron. She walked toward the door and Amber barked repeatedly for Sally to open it.
It was only eight o’clock. She still had three hours until the restaurant was open for customers. She peeked out the window and saw it was Pastor Miles from Grace Baptist Church. She quickly opened the door.
“Pastor Miles. Come on in. It is a bit early for lunch though.”
“Well, lunch is what I need to discuss. I have a challenge.”
“Please have a seat.” They sat down at a nearby table. “What is the challenge?”
“A hundred and fifty people showed up for lunch yesterday and by the number of people that showed up for breakfast thus far, we will exceed that number as well. We almost ran out of food. If you would help us by providing us with some of your soup that would be great. We have enough volunteers to prepare the sandwiches.”
“Sure. I was planning on preparing a pumpkin soup today. Would that be ok?”
“That would be perfect. I’m sorry to ask you at the last minute.”
“No problem, Pastor. You do a great job for this community. That is the least I can do.”
“Thank you so much. Our hunger ministry is usually well funded but when some of our members lost their jobs...”
“It has been a tough time for everyone, Pastor.”
The Pastor stood up, smiled and shook her hand. “I’ll instruct two of my deacons to be here at noon, if that would be ok.”
“That will be just fine, Pastor.” She said as they walked toward the door.
“Well Amber, it looks like we have our work cut out for us.” She said, closing the door behind him. Amber turned her head to one side as if trying to understand.
Sally doubled her soup recipe and within the hour, her employees arrived with extra pumpkins that she requested. The farmer’s market practically gave them away since it was the day after Halloween. Amber stayed in the backyard with her toys and doggie bed.
Sally could prepare soup in her sleep and since this recipe only had a few ingredients it was easy to prepare. By the time the deacons arrived, Sally had four stock pots filled with hot pumpkin soup.
The soup was a big hit and by the end of the month, Sally’s soup was the talk of the town. It spawned a movement in the restaurant community. Within six months, the downtown restaurants overwhelmed the church with offers to prepare a homemade soup and actually serve it to the homeless community. Soon, Grace Baptist Church had a long list of culinary and monetary contributors, which was the start of a great tradition.
Every year, on the first day of November, Sally would prepare her special pumpkin soup for the community, affectionately known as “Sally’s Soup.”
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