The COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath fell particularly hard on Kenneth. In May of 2020, Kenneth experienced an overdose and came to Haymarket Center for treatment. While he was receiving treatment, Kenneth became acquainted with his fellow patients and decided that he wanted to do more to help people in need once he left Haymarket.
“Addiction is a mental health issue,” he explained. “There are good people with substance issues who just need some help.”
After completing treatment at Haymarket, Kenneth had the idea to combine his new mission to support people in need with his skill and previous experience as a chef. Partnering with non-profit organizations in Chicago, Kenneth would station himself on CTA platforms and offer soup to people in need of a hot meal. After several months of feeding people experiencing homelessness, Kenneth decided that he was ready to take his calling to the next step. For Kenneth and his larger-than-life ambitions, the next step was creating his own non-profit organization, Souper Heroes.
Souper Heroes provides support to the many people who seek shelter on the CTA and in O’Hare International Airport. Through Souper Heroes, Kenneth not only provides hot and nourishing soup to people in need, but he also organizes clothing drives, collecting coats, socks, and blankets to help people without shelter survive winters in Chicago.
To Kenneth, Haymarket Center was the place where the incredible story of Souper Heroes began.
“At my lowest, the people at Haymarket were there for me,” he explained. “Haymarket helped me change my life. Going back to school to finish my bachelor’s degree, starting Souper Heroes, Haymarket made a huge difference in helping me do all that.”