Daily Bread Soup Kitchen, Champaign
In August of 2009, volunteers formed the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen, a nondenominational community
organization committed to feeding the hungry in Champaign County. Our mission statement is “to feed
the hungry of our community regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity. We welcome all volunteers to
this service who share an unconditional positive regard for every human being.”
We rented space from New Covenant Fellowship Church, whose members allowed us to distribute cold
lunches to guests who lined up at the corner of White and Randolph in Champaign. We grew from
handing out 30 sack lunches per day to over 100.
A year later, through the generous support of many donors in the community, we were able to
upgrade the New Covenant kitchen to a public health certified one, equipped with new refrigerator
and walk-in-freezer that allowed us to accept and store food. That winter we were serving a hot,
nutritional meal to over a 100 daily guests.
We only had access to New Covenant facility during the weekdays, and we wanted to provide food for
our guests on the weekends. A used van was donated to use on the weekends to distribute sack
lunches and hot soup. Community and students volunteers from the University of Illinois staffed the
van on Saturday and Sunday, where over 350 lunches were distributed.
Since the number of guests we serve continued to grow to over 200 daily, it became apparent that we
needed more space. In 2014 we purchased the former Emerald City Lounge at 116 N. First St., in
Champaign. In the fall of 2015 we initiated a fundraising drive and over $300,000 was donated.
Renovations to the facility were completed and we moved into our new place in December, 2016. We
are now able to serve seven days per week in a comfortable, sunny environment!
The Eastern Illinois Foodbank, Gordon Food Services (GFS), local restaurants such as Panera's, Urbana
Garden, and the University of Illinois food service, all donate food to our organization. Every weekday
volunteers go to the Foodbank, GFS and the University of Illinois to collect food. We participate with
the U of I in the Zero Percent Project where leftover, cooked food is given to our organization. We
could not exist without the coordinated effort of these groups and others who continue to assist in the
daily acquisition of food for the 153,000 meals we serve yearly.
We receive funds from the United Way of Champaign County to help our guests obtain state IDs, birth
certificates and bus passes. Other community groups such as the Champaign Rotary, Iroquois Federal
Bank, Ameren of Illinois and others have provided us with grants that are mission focused.
We are exclusively volunteer run. We have NO paid staff. We are unique in that aspect and are grateful
that all donations go toward food and operating expenses, with no salaries paid. We have over 150
volunteers from all walks of life, aged 14-90+. With our board of directors numbering 19, we set policy
and oversee the the operation of DBSK. Our daily crew chiefs and their volunteers work daily to
prepare and serve meals and clean up afterwards.