Soup Kitchen of Muncie

Loretta ParsonsWinner of the Richard Greene Public Service Award: for active involvement in serving the public's environmental interests and concerns

The Soup Kitchen of Muncie was awarded the Richard Greene Public Service Award for its initiative in eliminating styrofoam from its food service program and dramatically reducing the volume of materials used in food service containers.

The Soup Kitchen of Muncie (formerly Harvest Soup Kitchen) began serving the hungry in Muncie and Delaware County in 1994. Monday through Friday, guests receive a hot meal and a sack dinner.

Soup Kitchen containersFor most of its history, the Soup Kitchen used Styrofoam containers to serve food to as many 175 guests each week. Each menu item was packaged separately, resulting in five to seven pieces of Styrofoam per guest.

In October 2015, however, Loretta Parson, executive director, created a new initiative that replace several pieces of Styrofoam with a single compostable food tray for each guest. As a result, 340,000 pieces of Styrofoam have been kept out of the landfill – enough to fill a basketball court nine feet deep!

Styrofoam, which is non-biodegradable and non-recyclable, takes 500 years to decompose. Styrofoam products also occupy 30 percent of landfills in the U.S., and its manufacture releases massive amounts of ozone into the atmosphere.

By eliminating Styrofoam from its operations, the Soup Kitchen of Muncie has reduced waste and made a significant impact on the environment!