BRIGHAM CITY – Every Thursday at 9 a.m., Brigham City’s Volunteer of the Year Susan Poulsen unlocks the doors of the Fraternal Order of Eagles building, located at 912 North Main Street, and begins to prepare a meal at the Acts Six Soup Kitchen. The Brigham City Chamber of Commerce honored her with the community volunteer award.
“Our Mission is to assist in our humble way to help all in need by providing them nourishment and accepting fellowship,” the Acts Six Soup Kitchen brochure said.
For the meal this week, Poulsen cooked several turkeys for a hot turkey sandwich with “mashed taters,” green salad and green beans. Bread was donated from Kent’s, a local grocery store. The army of volunteers start coming in 2 p.m. to help prepare the dinner.
“We open the soup kitchen Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. once a week, with a different organization sending volunteers to prepare, serve and clean up the meal,” she said. “Sarah Yeats started Acts Six and we have been doing it since then.”
They started doing it and named it from the Bible, Acts chapter 6, where it talks about widows being neglected.
This week, the Brigham City 17th Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was preparing the meal.
“We have volunteers from eight different churches and service clubs,” she said. “I make a schedule for a year and plan everything in advance so everyone knows what week they are scheduled.”
She said it is nice to be in the back of the FOE building because they have a legacy of helping people. They rely on the help they receive from the local United Way, Kent’s Market, Box Elder Pantry, Hansen & Associates and Young Ford of Brigham City.
“We have 80 to a 100 people that come to eat and socialize, they come and go,” she said. “We have a lot of families and some to stay and visit.”
Dishes and silverware are used instead of paper products to help the environment. There is a commercial dishwasher to clean the dishes when they are finished.
“At Christmas time, we have a full-blown Christmas party with a turkey dinner,” Poulsen said. “Santa brings presents and our attendance grows to about 200 people.”
“Come see what’s in our closet,” she said. “We have hygiene and newborn packets to give away. We also have blankets and diapers to give to families.”
She looks for families that could use help and offers the packets to them after the meal. There is also a shelf with loaves of bread on it that people can take home with them.
One volunteer said Poulsen not only feeds people, she takes scraps to feed feral cats and old stale bread into a field for deer.
“As president, I have a board of 12 people that help and monitor what we do,” she said. “My mother was also the president until she passed away, and then it was handed down to different people until Burt Hall directed the kitchen.”
When Hall passed away four years ago, the torch went to Poulsen. She expects to continue doing it until she can’t do it anymore.
“You can’t get fired if you’re a volunteer,” she said. “And you can’t quit until you die.”