Back in 2004, my Associated Press colleague Matt Curry — now a Presbyterian pastor — tipped me to the story of "SoupMan."
If I recall correctly, Curry served as a volunteer for David Timothy's mobile soup kitchen in Dallas and didn't feel he could write the profile himself (for obvious conflict-of-interest reasons).
Thus, I ended up with a nice feature that ran on the AP national wire:
DALLAS — The theme from “Rocky” blares from a rickety white van that David Timothy calls his “SoupMobile.”
The music alerts hundreds of the homeless that it’s time to eat, and in a more subtle way, tells them that they – like Sylvester Stallone’s boxer character, Rocky Balboa – can overcome challenges.
“Rocky started with nothing and he rose to the top as world champion,” Timothy said as the hungry men, women and children emerged from their cardboard boxes under Interstate 45. “And these people here don’t have much. I just wanted to give them a little hope that they can rise to the top.”
On Thanksgiving Day, as he does every weekday, the 56-year-old Timothy will nourish those in need. Each will get a bowl of soup and a healthy portion of hope. But for the holiday meal, he’ll also serve up something special: turkey sandwiches bought in memory of his wife, Peggy, who died a month ago after a long battle with multiple sclerosis.
“She was always a cheerleader for the SoupMobile,” said Timothy, whose red “S” on his shirt gives his nickname as “SoupMan.” “She had a real heart for helping people and I feel she is with me every time I turn the key to start the SoupMobile.”
To the hundreds he assists, Timothy is more like Superman than Soupman.
I thought about that story and that still-active ministry after reading Religion News Service managing editor Yonat Shimron's recent compelling take on a mobile ministry that serves the homeless in wealthy Silicon Valley.