The chicken man has become the turkey man – just in time to feed hundreds of needy poor in Rock Hill on Christmas Day.
Brother David Boone and Bev Carroll run Rock Hill’s Dorothy Day Soup Kitchen, which has fed the poor and hungry for 27 years.
Earlier this week, they were fretting that there was no money to buy turkeys and other items needed for the annual holiday meal. Right about then, the soup kitchen door opened and George Hoskins walked in, unannounced. The assistant manager at a Bojangles’ restaurant has donated to the pantry for years, starting with a truck full of hamburger buns back when he ran a Burger King.
When Hoskins heard what the soup kitchen needed, he turned around and walked right back out the door.
An hour later, he returned, carrying with him 20 frozen turkeys he had just bought with his own money from Wal-Mart.
“A couple hundred bucks is not a lot of money when you think about how many people will get a hot meal, and one to take home, that day on Christmas,” Hoskins said. “I don’t have a lot of money. I’m a working stiff like anybody else, but you do what you can for people.”
The soup kitchen is run entirely by volunteers and survives on donations.
Carroll, who with Boone started the soup kitchen in 1986, was thrilled when Hoskins arrived with the turkeys just when the warning flags were going up about having no money to buy Christmas turkeys. The Christmas meal includes both a sit-down at the soup kitchen at Bannon Hall, across the street from the St. Mary Catholic Church on Crawford Road, and a to-go meal for later.
“For someone to arrive here with food for the people we serve is what this place has been about for so long,” Carroll said. “We, again, are thankful for people like Mr. Hoskins. He shows the true Christmas spirit.”
The spirit of giving – by hundreds of monthly volunteers from more than 20 church and civic groups from across faith and racial spectra – has made the Dorothy Day Soup Kitchen Rock Hill’s refuge for the needy six days a week for so long. No person who crosses the threshold into the soup kitchen on Christmas Day or any day, is asked about faith or anything else.
The only question is whether the person wants dessert, too.
“We serve people and ask no questions,” Carroll said. “We have never asked anyone anything. We are here to serve all people, from all walks of life, who come from anywhere.”
Earlier this week, a man showed up at the soup kitchen who had been helped last year by Carroll and other volunteers. The man was from out of town but had been in Rock Hill last year. He was down on his luck and drifting. He said he needed a bus ticket to get to his home in another state.
Carroll and others scraped together money for a ticket, fed the man and put a few dollars in his pocket.
“That man just walked in here and said he wanted to give back to those who helped him last year,” Carroll said. “He gave two Food Lion gift cards to help buy groceries.
“He said that when he needed someone to help him, and trust in him, he found it right here.”