In 1979, when St. John’s Episcopal Church founded the soup kitchen, the only meal provided was a Saturday breakfast of oatmeal, toast, and coffee. In 1985, church leaders asked Grace Bean to run the soup kitchen, and she graciously accepted. Grace had a heart to help and a vision to feed everyone in need. She opened every mealtime with, “God loves you, and so do we!” Grace had the heart and a vision, but she had no funds to do what God wanted her to do. The lack of money didn’t stop her; she began fundraising at local churches and businesses, and today, Grace’s legacy lives on almost 40 years later. One meal a week has grown to five hearty meals a week and a few extras during the month!
After Cecil and Grace Bean’s Soup Kitchen became a 501c3 non-profit corporation in 2015, Grace and her husband, Cecil, retired a year later. Following their retirement, Bill Rinker assumed the role of Managing Director and Board President.
A Brief Look at the Soup Kitchen
In Loving Memory of Grace and Cecil Bean
Grace and Cecil Bean are no longer with us, but their life, work, and legacy will live on through the continued work of the soup kitchen, where they served thousands of people, in the Norristown community, for more than 30 years. Grace passed away in 2020 at the age of 98, and Cecil passed away in 2021 at the age of 90.
One of the greatest joys in Grace’s life was feeding those who needed a little help, and Cecil was right by her side. No matter the person’s situation, Grace welcomed them into the soup kitchen, offering a kiss on the cheek, a warm hug, and prayer. Her motto, “God loves you, and so do we!” has and will forever inspire us all.
In memory of Cecil and Grace, please send donations to Cecil and Grace Bean’s Soup Kitchen, PO Box 6, Norristown, PA 19404.