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Church to open soup kitchen
5 Soup Kitchen pic
Joe Fortune, left, and Mark Weaver of Grace Presbyterian Church are looking forward to serving the community by opening a soup kitchen April 1. - photo by Photo/Elizabeth Hamilton

The economic downturn has one Dawson County church serving up hope and help a bowl at a time.


Organizers say the soup kitchen that Grace Presbyterian Church plans to launch April 1 has been “simmering for a while.”


“If you are hungry, we will feed you,” said Joe Fortune, a member the church in downtown Dawsonville.


Fortune presented the idea of the free soup kitchen to Mark Weaver, organizing pastor of Grace. He said the concept had been on his heart and mind the past couple of years.


Weaver said the church “wants people to feel welcomed.”


“With so many people losing their jobs and downscaling, we thought this would be a great thing to do,” he said. “Anyone who walks through our doors will be treated as a guest.”


The kitchen will be open during lunch on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Exact hours are still being determined.


The church recently bought a commercial stove, which Weaver said will be a “great tool” in serving the community.


With initial plans of serving soup and sandwiches, Fortune said the church has no expectations for the kitchen and is not limiting it to anyone or anything.


“We could see 25 people and we could see 200,” Fortune said. “We will most likely prepare for 25 for the first day, and depending on how many people show up is how we will plan each week.”


Fortune said no one will go hungry or be turned away.


Approaching the initiative with a “crawl, walk, run” mentality, Weaver said he would like to see it grow into a community effort.


“As word has gotten out about this, we have had folks from other churches offer to help serve,” Weaver said. “We are going to be receptive to anyone that needs to eat or wants to help, whether through volunteering or donations.”


Fortune said more than 40 people have volunteered to help with the project.


E-mail Elizabeth Hamilton at