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Presbyterian homeless ministry serves 8 millionth meal


First Presbyterian Church of Dallas’ Stewpot reaches milestone

by First Presbyterian Church of Dallas | Special to Presbyterian News Service

Last month, the Stewpot, a ministry of First Presbyterian Church in Dallas, served its 8 millionth meal. (Contributed photo)

LOUISVILLE — Last month, the Stewpot, a ministry of First Presbyterian Church of Dallas, served its 8 millionth meal — equivalent to 13 million pounds or 2,800 pallets of food — marking a major milestone in the ministry’s 44-year history.

According to the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance, about 4,100 people are experiencing homelessness in the city on any given day. “Helping Dallas feed those individuals who are experiencing homelessness is an honor,” said Brenda Snitzer, executive director of the Stewpot. “We aim to provide support for as many of those individuals as possible, and a large part of that support is meal assistance.”

In 1975, First Presbyterian Church began serving soup in the church’s basement to hungry neighbors. As the ministry grew, it moved to its own building, and eventually to the Bridge Homeless Recovery Center, a space operated by the city. The Rev. Dr. Laura Barnes, First Presbyterian Church’s interim pastor for mission and evangelism, said that in addition to casework services for people experiencing homelessness, the church provides more than 1,000 meals each day, 7 days per week.

Aside from providing meals, the café offers diners a quiet, air-conditioned break. “I think the dining hall is a magical place, one where those who are in need of service and those who want to serve come together in a harmonious spirit,” said Ashlee Hueston, Stewpot director of operations. “There’ve been power outages, fires, broken pipes and other disasters — but the commitment of this ministry to hold ourselves accountable to offer a dependable and a consistent service has never failed. With the help of over 1,400 volunteers a month, we have created a community dining hall where all belong.”

First Presbyterian Church of Dallas is a downtown church in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) For more than 160 years, the church has provided engaging worship, Christian formation and outreach in the heart of the city. For more information on the church’s programs and service opportunities, visit

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