Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Capuchin Soup Kitchen

The Capuchin Soup Kitchen is one of Detroit’s primary community support and outreach programs. The organization is run by Capuchin Franciscan Friars, a male order of the Roman Catholic Church dedicated to addressing the needs of poor and disenfranchised people in cities around the world.

Historically, the Capuchin order was founded in 1528 in Italy. Officially known as Order of Capuchin Friars Minor, the organization established an American presence in 1856. The Detroit mission was born when the Capuchin order moved the headquarters of the St. Joseph Province to the city in 1881. Two years later, the friars established St. Bonaventure Monastery on Mount Elliott Street. During the Great Depression, friars Solanus Casey and Herman Buss started serving meals to those who came to the door of the monastery. Capuchin friars and volunteers continued to serve nourishment ever since, while expanding their programs. The Capuchin Soup Kitchen now manages two locations serving over 2,000 hot meals per day.

The Capuchins also maintain a service and distribution center that helps families in transition obtain clothing, home furnishings and emergency food. Case management is provided by social workers, and support groups are offered. The mission serves up to 800 children per month with a library and art therapy studio, offers substance abuse treatment and generates fresh produce at their 25,000 square foot Earthworks Urban Farm. Their “On the Rise Bakery” provides work opportunities and interpersonal support people who are recovering from substance abuse or recently released from prison.



St. Bonaventure Monastery, c.1920

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