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Local soup kitchen owner plans to open coffee shop to help pay for soup kitchen

By Jefferson Tyler, Multimedia Journalist

OTTUMWA, IA (KYOU) – Jody Archer loves getting a fresh home-cooked meal, from a place that isn’t her home. But it sure feels like it.

“You feel love. You can sit and eat enjoy it. And carry on good conversation.,” said Archer who loves to eat at the Blessings Soup Kitchen.

The place filling her stomach, and her heart is the Blessings Soup Kitchen along the 200 block of Main Street Ottumwa.

“You want to come and sit down and leave your troubles at the door,” said Blessings Soup Kitchen co-founder Sheri Locke.

For 2 hours each day, Monday through Friday, Sheri Locke and her army of volunteers feed anyone who walks through the door, a home cooked meal, and dessert.  Provided for by donations of food, volunteer time, and money for the meals served.

“We’ve been down to a 1.49 And yet we’ve still never been down to worry about it. Because it’s always been provided by morning,” said Locke.

The idea of Blessings Soup Kitchen came to her in a dream.

“I saw the exact buildings in my dream. We came to town and the realtor was putting up the for sale signs in,” said Locke.

Now she’s got a new dream.

“This a new coffee shop that will be a revenue stream for the Soup Kitchen,” said Locke.

Blessings is building a high end coffee shop in front of the Soup Kitchen. Hoping to sell enough cappuccino and fancy coffee drinks to pay for the charity food service.

“We’re going to have skylights and we’re going to have live music,” said Locke.

Add in fresh baked goods, created in a new bakery located downstairs. And a high end coffee environment might just pay for a good cause, with none of the money used for the remodeling, coming from the Soup Kitchen. The coffee shop is set to open in the spring of 2017.

This week is National Hunger Homelessness Awareness Week. So it’s the best time to donate to places that help the less fortunate. Like the Blessings Soup Kitchen, Food Bank, and food pantries in the area. Consider donating to the cause.

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