Free soup to highlight homelessness in Ames


Cold and Flu Home Remedies (Chicken Noodle Soup)

Isaac Carson

Today was the ninth annual ‘Scoop of Soup’ event hosted by the city of Ames and sponsored by Hy-Vee and KSI Radio.

From 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., members of the Ames City Council served free bowls of chicken and wild rice and cheddar broccoli soup to the public in the parking lot of Hy-Vee at 640 Lincoln Way to raise awareness of the homeless and poverty in Ames.

The event was in conjunction with National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. The event was in partnership with agencies who aid the hungry and homeless.

Representatives from The Salvation Army, Youth and Shelter Services, ACCESS, the Emergency Residence Project, Story County Community Services, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Mid-Iowa Community Action (MICA), Ames Community School District, Food at First, Healthiest Ames and the Hunger Collaboration were present at the event to provide information on the services they provide and how to sign up to volunteer locally.

Cody Heinberg was on on the corner of Lincoln Way and S. Grand Avenue today with a sign that read “18,000 people in Story County are living in poverty.” Heinberg is a junior at Ames High School, and a member of Ames Hope, a club at Ames High School that works to raise awareness of poverty, hunger and homelessness in the Ames and Story County area. 

Today the club took a field trip to the “Scoop of Soup” event to help them raise awareness on these issues.

“We have about 30 to 50 members right now,” Heinberg said. When asked what message he hopes to send to the homeless community in the area Heinberg said, “To let people know they are loved and are cared for.”

Nathan Harms, major in The Salvation Army, was at the event today as well. The Salvation Army provides a number of services for those in need, like a food pantry with infant care supplies, help with rent, mortgage and utility assistance, as well as several other services.

Harms encourages all hoping to help to sign up to be a Salvation Army bell ringer at 

The Emergency Resident Project was another homeless shelter present at the event. Since their doors opened in August 1985 there has not been a single night the shelter did not have someone spending the night. 

“People still need to be aware of hunger and homelessness in Ames,” said Troy Jansen of ERP. “Ames is a great community, it just needs to be aware. It’s not the homelessness you think of, it’s not people living in shelters on the side of the road. It’s more hidden here. It could be people who can’t make ends meet, or are doubling up in residences because they don’t have a place of their own.”

Linda Munden was also at the event representing the ERP.

“For people living paycheck to paycheck all it takes is one broken leg or one flat tire to cause them to become homeless,” Munden said.

Ames City Council member Bronwyn Beatty-Hansen was also serving soup at the event, serving soup from a window on the side of a Salvation Army truck.

“Awareness of hunger and homelessness is important,” Beatty-Hansen said. “We do have people living through that here in Ames.” 

In a press release about the event last month, Vanessa Baker-Latimer, city of Ames housing coordinator, wrote, “Not only does Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week offer the opportunity to get involved in a national social movement, it also brings awareness to what’s happening locally by spotlighting the agencies in our community working to eradicate homelessness here in Ames and Story County.”

Baker-Latimer estimated anywhere from 20 to 30 people had stopped by and talked with representatives from the organizations and got free soup from the truck.

Harms also noted he thought this year’s turnout was almost double the turnout of last year’s event.