Depression Era Soup Kitchens

Missouri woman remembers soup kitchens feeding the hungry during the depression era.

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During the depression era, I lived on a small farm in the southern part of Missouri, in the now-famous vicinity of Branson. We worked very hard from early morning until late at night. We had three cows and about 100 chickens, which my mother raised, and sold the eggs and cream to buy the necessary things such as flour, salt, sugar, coffee and lard to supply the ingredients for cooking so we were never hungry.

But in the small towns near us, where the very desperate and hungry were, there was what they called soup kitchens, and they could go there once a day and get something to eat. Mostly big bowls of vegetable soup.

Etta Reiker 
Union, Missouri


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.