Soup kitchen manager
Since the April's riots, the number of meals served at the St.
Francis Seraph Soup Kitchen has doubled - but director Denise
McPherson doesn't blame it on the unrest.
"A year ago, it had dropped off considerably, to 100 or 150
meals," she says in her basement office at St. Francis Seraph
School, a landmark for 96 years at Liberty and Vine.
Now they're serving 250-300 free meals at 4:30 p.m. on Mondays,
Wednesdays and Fridays. Ms. McPherson attributes the increase to job
losses after Sept. 11, welfare program changes and fall-out from the
riots. But she's not sure.
"I don't really know why. We don't ask questions. If they come
in, they can eat," she says.
The clientele - half black, half white - has dramatically changed
in the past year. Ms. McPherson sees more families, particularly a
growing number of Hispanic families with young children, and white
men in suit and ties waiting for supper in the school cafeteria.
"White guys dressed up nice do not come to soup kitchens. But
we've been seeing them. Maybe they're out looking for a job, and come
in here to eat."
Ms. McPherson, 40, is an OTR native who lives in Mount Auburn with
her husband, and three children. Her parents still live in Over-
She says she has never felt unsafe in the neighborhood, but the
riots had a devastating impact on the kitchen's two dozen all-white
volunteer staff. The elderly, mostly retired volunteers were afraid
to come down here, and park down here, she says. For two months, the
center stopped serving meals and just handed out sandwiches.
A few of the longtime volunteers have come back. Most have been
replaced by younger (age 30-40) white suburban residents or students,
she says. The kitchen couldn't exist without help from other
"This is Over-the-Rhine, but we don't have any minority people
who volunteer here," says Ms. McPherson, shaking her head. "Our
volunteers are white people, suburban people."
Faces of Over-the-Rhine
Restaurant owner Paul Sebring
Taft senior Darrel Shields
Social worker Angela Coleman
Sarah Center director Sister Jeanette Buehler
Jordanian grocer Taraq T.A. Adwani
Filmmaker Steve Gebhardt
Gallery owner Suzanna Terril
Beauty shop supplier Chong Kim
Teacher's aide Kemberley Alexander
Waitress Karla Davis
Teacher Sharon Brooks
Dock worker Leo Sneed
Police officer Michael Ammann
Soup kitchen manager Denise McPherson
Artist Joseph M. Winterhalter
Janitor Latrell Walker
Fund-raiser Torren "T.J." Partridge
School social worker Joe Wilmers
Rehabber Greg Badger
Medical student John Eckman
Treatment counselor Calvin W. Wooten
Photographer Jimmy Heath
Violence up, arrests down
Changes made since April 2001
Q&A with Police Chief Streicher
Q&A with former F.O.P. president Keith Fangman
Neighbor to Neighbor
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Matters of Race: Bridging the divide in Greater Cincinnati
On the Same Page Cincinnati
Live Without Hate
Cincinnati 2001: Year of unrest
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