Mike the Soup Man

“When they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

16He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

17He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”

John 21:15-17

A few years ago, local chef Mike Zudnich saw a need for free meals for single mothers, the elderly, and those otherwise in need.  Serving free meals to these people led his attention to the homeless.  Thus began “Mike The Soup Man”.

From November through March, Mike prepares a huge pot of soup and serves it o the homeless of Salt Lake City. 8pm sharp, every night, regardless of the weather.

Most nights, Mike will prepare a soup that has good nutritional content.  One night each week, typically Sunday night, he takes a requests. “His people” usually ask for something tasty, albeit less healthy, like cheddar bacon broccoli.  Tonight we find Mike cutting up several pounds of chicken for a large pot of chicken and rice soup.

He feels called to serve, and does so out of his own pocket.  He serves between 80 – 200 people every night.  The cost is substantial.  The Feed My Lambs Foundation has been created to help raise funds for the operation.

In the narratives of Christianity, Jesus beckons those who claim to believe in him to follow his example and serve one’s fellow man.  In a mystical, yet practical sense – Mike’s hands become the hands of the Lord.

The kitchen is a flurry of activity as Mike hustles toward his appointed hour to serve, 8pm.

Also known in the restaurant business as “Z Daddy”, Mike has a long running reputation for good food and generous ways.

8:00pm, “The Soup Man” arrives at his typical spot.   Mike prays over the soup, trusting that the Lord doesn’t want him to belabor the point.A line of approximately 80 people has formed. Men. Women. Children. All ages, all nationalities.

He opens the trunk of his car and uncovers the soup. A line immediately forms behind his car.

Steaming hot soup is served quickly in styrofoam cups.  Women and children are served first.

It is common – even a bit fashionable, for people to visit downtown SLC to hand out treats and food to the homeless during the week before Christmas.  It is a stark, bitterly cold night lost in the depths of January. Mike never misses a night. His people wait for him at the appointed spot.After the last man has been served – some return for seconds.

Soup du jour: Bacon cheddar potato.

Mike “The Soup Man” refers to the people he feeds as “my people”. A particular sense of stewardship is evident in his words, and even more evident in his dedication to serving every night at 8pm sharp.

The last few drops of soup are drained from the pot for a little girl who would like seconds.

8:20pm: the huge pot is empty. “God bless!” Mike shouts, as he closes the trunk and drives home.  This pot will be back in exactly 23 hours and 40 minutes, brimming with something hot and nutritious.

Please consider donating to support the Feed My Lambs Foundation.




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