The 24-Hour Soup Kitchen

Soul-Stirring Lessons in Gastrophilanthropy

Stephen Henderson

The 24-Hour Soup Kitchen, by Stephen Henderson, introduces us to gastrophilanthropy. First and foremost, it is a call to act on our empathy. Second to that, it is about using our passion to help others. Consequently, we might just solve the world’s ills.

As a journalist, Henderson traveled on assignment to India. When surrounded by the poverty of overcrowded Delhi, he felt helpless to make a difference. Then he asked himself, “What can I do?” Fortunately, he didn’t have to look far. Nearby Sikh houses of worship (or gurudwaras) presented an opportunity to do good. Coincidentally, the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib in Delhi feeds 20,000 men, women, and children every day. As a result, Henderson spent a week helping to prepare and serve meals. Through this experience, the lightbulb went off in his head. Consequently, he decided to use his love of cooking to stamp out hunger and poverty one fantastic meal at a time. What’s more, his desire turned into global gastrophilanthropy. As he traveled, he learned first hand how people the world over feed the hungry.

Initially, newspapers and magazines dispatched him across America and abroad to write stories. Next, Henderson would add days to his itineraries to learn about local customs of providing meals. Subsequently, through these encounters, he learned from local good Samaritans. In time, these strangers became friends and compatriots in the fight against hunger.

For instance, people of good will all have their own unique food and customs. More specifically, no matter the locale, people prepare and eat food peculiar to their culture. Likewise, from coast to coast in the United States, soup kitchens tackle hunger with their own local yummy smells and tasty food. Admittedly, the recipes, culinary methods, and clientele may vary. Above all, though, all the soul-stirring experiences share a common theme. Ultimately, gastrophilanthropy is a great way to show love to the needy through the gift of food.

As expected, seasoned journalist Henderson writes with a huge heart. Moreover, he has an even bigger appetite for great food. Consequently, these chapters swing from sad to funny and sometimes both. Ultimately, they will inspire you to embark on your own acts of gastrophilanthropy. After all, someone, somewhere, is always hungry.

It was my good fortune to team up with Radius Book Group. From the moment I submitted a manuscript I was given such excellent support, guidance, and counsel. I truly was made to feel my sentences deserved to be placed on a handsomely printed page. Wise editorial feedback improved my text; savvy graphic design and layout gave my thoughts even greater polish. It was a happy collaboration from preface to epilogue.

Stephen Henderson