"The sermon is in the soup."

Community Support

"The sermon is in the soup."

2019-12-17

I remember our founder Father Claude DuTeil’s words so well. “The sermon is in the soup, he would say, knowing that it's hard to receive guidance when you're hungry. 

Trips to IHS with my church to serve dinner and share uplifting music were always such a blessing. I came away with a greater appreciation of how a simple act of kindness could touch someone deeply.

In the 1970s, Father Claude DuTeil initiated relationships with those who found themselves homeless with an offering of a hot cup of coffee and a peanut butter sandwich. These were among his most powerful tools, and this noble work was dubbed "The Peanut Butter Ministry."

Those humble offerings helped to nurture trust and hope. After all, the way to people's hearts is through their bellies.

For 41 years, IHS, The Institute for Human Services, has served daily meals – three times a day, every day of the year – to those who sleep in our shelters, as well as those who struggle on the streets. Gathering around the table for a meal together offers a moment of respite from life's chaos. It also gives people a chance to forge a connection with us. The relationships that we establish in our dining rooms lead to opportunities that have ended homelessness for thousands of people each year.


Last year, we served a total of 305,719 meals. As we look ahead to 2020, this may change. The funding to ensure this program continues will require more resources than we currently have. It is through the generosity of friends like you that we can provide 900 meals a day served at nine shelters. Your donation goes even farther to support a multitude of services that we provide that work to end homelessness for so many.

Our loyal supporters like Hawaiian Electric have helped us to keep this program running. In 2018, 513 of their employees and their family members volunteered more than 1,000 hours to serve about 300 meals at our shelters. That’s about 12,600 individual meals in 2018. Still, we need more volunteers than ever before.

There's a great need for volunteer to help with weekday breakfast service (6 to 8 am) at our Men's Shelter on Sumner Street, which is just a few minutes drive from the heart of downtown Honolulu. We also need regular transporters who can shuttle donated food from the University of Hawaii at Manoa to our shelters. It's only 4 miles from the Manoa campus to our Women's & Children Shelter. If you can help, contact Lauren at laurenik@hawaii.edu. Volunteer drivers must be at least 18 years-old with their own vehicle, hold a valid driver’s license and insurance. Groups can also shop, cook and serve a meal – and that help is always priceless.

Your gift of support has never been more important. As a local nonprofit organization, we are only as strong as the community that supports us. 

Mahalo for your generosity.