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'There is only love here': Milledgeville's only soup kitchen reopens

"It doesn't make a difference where you come from or who you are or what your connections are. You are welcome and invited."

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — Milledgeville's Cafe Central reopened for business this Tuesday. They do more than just feed people, they also feed the soul.

They say they're the only soup kitchen in town and it's 100% volunteer run, so it takes a village to keep it going.

"Anyone can come. If you come, you're supposed to be here. No one has ever been turned away,” said Ann Bowen.

Bowen opened the doors to Cafe Central over a decade ago. She started helping out at Freedom Church when she retired from her job as an insurance agent.

People often asked her for food, so she began to see a need for a service in the community.

"I talked to the pastor about it and asked him, ‘Is there somebody in the church that would be good at starting a soup kitchen?' And he said, 'Yeah.' And I said, 'who?' And he said, 'you!'” she explained.

Bowen was reluctant at first, but now she thinks it's the biggest blessing.

“They tell us frequently how important it is for them to be able to get a meal and box of food to take home,” she said. “Sometimes, that's the only time during the week that they see other people.”

Bowen says it couldn't happen without their volunteers.

“We have a community where the volunteers are so willing to lend a hand and reach out to those who don't have as much as they do,” said Bowen.

Charvis Stallworth has been coming for the last seven years when he migrated from Macon to Milledgeville. He says the service is needed for those who struggle with addiction as he once did.

"This is a privilege and an honor, because you know as well as I know that there are some people in this country that are really struggling,” said Stallworth.

He says there is only love here. 

"It doesn't make a difference where you come from or who you are or what your connections are. You are welcome and invited. We don't discriminate up in here. If you're hungry, need some clothes, some food, some assistance, this the place to be,” said Stallworth.

Bowen says they are open every Tuesday at Freedom Church on Underwood Road from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. They are always in need of donations or volunteers and she says cash helps the most.

Even if you don't want to eat, everyone is welcome to come and make a friend.

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