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News :: Human Rights
Community Leaders Protest Soup Kitchen
26 Feb 2005
What critics want you to know is that there are two sides to Suzy's. On one
side, there is the soup kitchen. On the other, a liquor store.
Group claims business preys upon the unfortunate and the addicted

(Knight-Rider) Phenix City, Ala. -- The cafeteria of Suzy's Soup Kitchen in
downtown Phenix City has been packed to the rafters, day in and day out,
with hundreds of the area's downtrodden and needy.

And while the soup kitchen receives no funding from civic, state, or federal
organizations, Suzy's is able to feed them without pause. In fact, Suzy's has
never had to turn away an unfortunate for lack of food, nor has it ever
denied an individual subsequent servings.
As the sign above the entrance to Suzy's says, "Come in, and you will be
feed. Leave, and you will be full."

But despite Suzy's efforts to win the war on hunger, the soup kitchen is
drawing criticism from many of the area's leading charity organizations and
homeless advocacy groups for its controversial approach to funding.

What critics want you to know is that there are two sides to Suzy's. On one
side, there is the soup kitchen. On the other, a liquor store. It’s name -
Sousey Sue’s.

"It's a disgrace," says Cate Watershed, a member of Phenix City Families
Against Famine. "The people behind this store don’t care about the
homeless. They don’t care about the unfortunate. All they care about is
making a profit, and they are willing to do it at the expense of society’s
most needy."

Not so, says the proprietor of the Suzy's Soup Kitchen, Marshall Field. "The
homeless are people too. They have the same wants and needs that you
and I have. They want food - which I give them for free. They also want to
have a little fun, a little nip here and there. And we happily oblige."

According to Erma Preston, chairperson for Concerned Citizens of Phenix
City, Suzy’s Soup Kitchen goes against the very nature of charity. "We are
supposed to be helping these people," Preston says, "not adding to their

Dr. Lewis Queensberg, a specialist in addiction at the University of
Alabama-Birmingham, agrees. "Many of these individuals are where they
are today, dependent on soup kitchens for their survival, because of their
addictions to alcohol. This so-called soup kitchen only contributes to their
destructive tendencies. Mr. Field is the very definition of an enabler."

Queensberg adds, "By offering addicts a free meal and then asking for
their dollar at the liquor store next door is the same as giving a person an
aspirin for a headache and then hitting them over the head with a mallet.
What kind of help is that?"

Field disagrees, stating that he is lending a hand to society’s most needy.
"There are several questions that need to be answered here. One, am I
making a profit? The answer is 'no.' All money that Sousey Sue’s
generates is used to fund Suzy's Kitchen, after we cover payroll and our
overhead costs, of course," Field says. "And two, do these folks leave
hungry? Are their bellies not full? Once again, the answer is 'no.'”

The businessman believes that the people who work for groups like Phenix
City Families Against Famine aren’t doing their part to help the
unfortunate. "These people only care about the homeless and the poor
when it doesn't interfere with their brunches and their gala balls. Where are
the men and women behind these so-called charity organizations when the
sun goes down? At home sipping Scotch and feigning interest in PBS,"

Field says. "I know what the homeless want, and I give it to them, in one
convenient place, all day and all night. At Suzy's and Sousey’s, we don't
abandon anybody. Not even the rich."

According to Erma Preston, Concerned Citizens of Phenix City will begin
hosting weekly protests at the soup kitchen while a march is being planned
for later in the month.

Field also says that if Suzy's Soup Kitchen continues to be a success in
Phenix City, he will open locations in other cities.
See also:

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