Unsung Hero Kathie Rife: Soup Angels Co-Founder and Volunteer

BY BARRY WARNER

Soup Angels co-founder and volunteer Kathie Rife is helping to prepare meals in the kitchen of the First Reformed Church in Nyack. Visitors to a soup kitchen do not need to meet eligibility requirements and meals are offered to them without question.
Soup Angels co-founder and volunteer Kathie Rife is helping to prepare meals in the kitchen of the First Reformed Church in Nyack. Visitors to a soup kitchen do not need to meet eligibility requirements and meals are offered to them without question.

September is designated as National Hunger Action Month to highlight hunger and its impact on children, the elderly and the poor. Food insecurity is defined as the lack of dependable access to enough food to sustain a healthy life. People who are food insecure are forced to choose between paying for food or everyday necessities, such as rent or health care.

Kathie Rife said, “Soup Angels will be starting its 9th year of offering healthy meals at the First Reformed Church in Nyack to anyone who needs a meal. The soup kitchen was formed in 2006 by Katie Berry, Kathleen Meyers and I. More than 100 portions are served in a restaurant-style atmosphere from 5:30 to 6:30pm on Mondays and Wednesdays by a large group of volunteers. Economic hardships have negatively affected families, the elderly, veterans and the disabled in this area. We also offer a healthy take-home sandwich plus a salad to those who require lunch for the following day. In November, Soup Angels sends almost 2,000 Thanksgiving meals out to agencies around Rockland County, as well as offering hundreds of sit-down turkey dinners. The soup kitchen is supported by donations from local food suppliers, matching gifts and the Nyack street fairs. The church has installed air conditioning in this space and some of the members of the congregation volunteer to help us keep the kitchen spotless.”

Co-founder Katie Berry said, “Kathie is one of those rare individuals who sees beyond the obvious needs of folks who are hurting plus she is aware of their deeper needs. More than that, she’s willing to do whatever it takes to address those needs. Kathie is tireless in her efforts and never says ‘no’. No task is too big and no problem is too small. She consistently makes a difference in many lives all the time and she never asks for recognition or applause!”

According to Rockland County Against Hunger (RCAH) 43,000 people are living in Rockland County below the poverty level, up from 33,000 just 2 years ago. Almost half of the people getting food do not qualify for federal nutrition programs and must rely on charitable food assistance from soup kitchens, such as Soup Angels.