Ardmore Soup Kitchen moving to new, temporary location

Drew Butler
The Daily Ardmoreite
The Ardmore Soup Kitchen will cease serving meals from its current location on Thursday, May 13. It will reopen from a temporary location at St. Philip's Episcopal Church on Monday.

The Ardmore Soup Kitchen will cease to serve meals from its current location on B Street NW on Thursday, May 13, and will begin serving meals from a temporary location at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church beginning Monday. Over the summer, the soup kitchen board of directors will be finalizing plans for a new location outside of the downtown area.

Board Member Laura Akers said the soup kitchen serves a diverse clientele of people experience food insecurity.

“The population that visits the Ardmore Soup Kitchen — at least prior to COVID-19 — is a mixture of families who are struggling and living paycheck to paycheck, retirees who are living off social security, and individuals experiencing homelessness,” Akers said. “Together that is who the Ardmore Soup Kitchen served and will continue to serve.”

The homeless population — along with crimes associated with the homeless such as breaking and entering and public defecation and urination — have created pressure on organizations such as the soup kitchen to relocate into other areas outside downtown.

This pressure combined with what would have been an increase in the price of rent, caused the Soup Kitchen to look into moving.

“Ardmore is facing a homeless crisis, and that is something that the Grace Center and the leaders in the Ardmore Homeless Coalition have been working to address,” said Akers who is also the Executive Director of the Grace Center of Southern Oklahoma. “We’ve been trying to address the issues that have come from the rising needs of the homeless in our community. Any time you have a city that is facing a homelessness crisis, there are going to be difficulties that come with pressure from downtown business owners, property owners and city governments as we all try to figure out how to handle this crisis together, and everyone has different opinions on how to deal with the homelessness crisis.”

In a press release, Rev. Mike Stephenson, priest at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church said he was happy to welcome the soup kitchen into its temporary home.

“We are pleased to help such an important service to the community as it transitions to its new space,” Stephenson said.

The Ardmore Soup Kitchen is open to any in need of a meal and will be open weeknights beginning at 6 p.m. at its new location at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, 516 McLish Street.