11 May ‘A champion effort’: Breakfast in Brockton trailer Soupman’s latest tool to feed homeless
Darvence Chery The Enterprise
BROCKTON — An ecstatic Peter Kelleher, founder of Support the Soupman, stood in disbelief surrounded by Brockton officials as he thought about all that has come about over the years from what started with one bowl of soup.
Seeing the support he has received from the Brockton community and city officials, his excitement for his new innovation to help the homeless community quickly turned into adulation for how the community he’s given to has given back to him.
A teary-eyed Kelleher looked at a small audience of Brockton officials exclaiming, “I’ll never understand why I was called to do this,” as he was showered with applause for the trailer he was able to buy to help feed the homeless in Brockton, thanks to a generous donation from the Brockton Rotary Club.
The Brockton Rotary Club awarded a $3,000check to Support the Soupman, a nonprofit that seeks to serve homeless communities in New England,as they begin to utilize a new trailer to serve breakfast to the homeless community.
The check was awarded during a presentation at Simonelli’s Towing at 1489 Main St. in Brockton on Tuesday afternoon.
This endeavor that came about within the past two weeks is affectionately called Breakfast in Brockton. Kelleher, founder of Support the Soupman, said he wanted to find a way to feed homeless communities.
Currently, the city of Brockton does not allow food trucks, which lead to Kelleher coming up with the idea of using a food trailer. The trailer is equipped with a running sink and two grills, all paid for thanks to the Brockton Rotary Club’s donation. The trailer was custom-built by Simonelli’s Towing staff.
Kelleher has been working in Brockton for years serving those experiencing homelesness.
In 2017, Kelleher started by offering hot cups of soup and clean clothing to the homeless community in Brockton. Since then, he has expanded to providing a portable shower unit to the homeless as well.
His mission to help the homeless was sparked by the death of his son, Travis, at age 33 in Bangor, Maine, in 2016 after struggling with addiction and homelessness.
The work Support the Soupman has done has garnered support in the past from the city of Brockton, as well as the New England Patriots, with their owner Robert Kraft donating money for a portable shower that the nonprofit uses across New England.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kelleher has been offering bagged meals to the homeless community in Brockton on Saturdays and now he will be serving up a hot breakfast.
“Everyone deserves to have a meal for breakfast,” Kelleher said while showing off the prototype for the trailer he plans on driving around the Brockton community to feed the homeless in a matter of weeks.
“They do amazing work to provide food, clothing and showers to the homeless,” said Sesay Johnson, president of the Brockton Rotary Club. “As Rotarians, we encourage and foster the ideal of service, and opportunity for service.”
With the help from the corporate leadership of Ocean State Job Lot, Kelleher has the food and supplies to get his trailer on the road.
“This is a champion effort,” Mayor Robert Sullivan said. “It’s about coming together as a community. No one chooses to be homeless.”
Kelleher is hoping to serve breakfast and offer hot showers to the homeless community in downtown Brockton on Monday and Thursday mornings.
Enterprise staff writer Darvence Chery can be reached at email@example.com. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Enterprise today.