Sweeney’s Soup Kitchen | RecordCourier.com

Sweeney’s Soup Kitchen

by Lisa Gavon
R-C Alpine Bureau

The catastrophic 7.0 earthquake in Haiti 6 years ago caused horrible devastation, and the people were suffering. Tom and Jane Sweeney knew they could send a donation, but as people of action they wanted to do more. “Wish we could set up a Soup Kitchen for everyone there.” was their shared thought. This evolved into a unique idea: have a Soup Kitchen Fundraiser here, and send a more substantial amount from our community to the citizens of Haiti.

This year is the 6th annual gathering at the Sweeney’s home. After researching the most efficient direct-need charities, they have chosen Convoy of Hope, a group that brings food and relief after disasters here in the US, and Doctors Without Borders, an organization that provides aid both here and in foreign countries. Their event has grown substantially, and last year they hosted over 75 people. Everyone is welcome.

Both Tom and Jane have a strong sense of commitment to Alpine County, retiring here 16 years ago. Tom is well-known for his “Alpine Events Calendar”, a weekly email that keeps everyone up-to-date on activities and meetings. Contact him at tsweeneyac@gmail.com to be added to the list. Between Tom and Jane they are members in over 14 different public service groups, including the Alpine Garden Club, and the Alpine County Historical Society. In addition, Tom is Chairman of the Alpine County Planning Commission, the Economic Development Committee, and Treasurer of the Alpine Fire Safe Council. Jane is Chair of the Behavioral Health Board, and teaches a program to provide Mental Health First Aid Training for local residents. Once they retired in this small county, they saw things that needed to be done and jumped right in. They were happy to have the time to connect, and to make a difference. They both found that they love to work.

They have been married for 50 years this August, and have three grown children and 4 grandchildren. Jane went to work when the youngest was in third grade as a Hospice volunteer. She became Director of Volunteers, obtained her Master’s Degree from California State University at Northridge, and served as a Bereavement Counselor. Jane is a knitter, and raises funds for the Ronald McDonald house selling hand-crafted items.

Tom received his Masters from California State University at Los Angeles and went on to teach Community College vocational classes, including machine shop, robotics, and math for over 27 years. He was a Technical Writer for the Pasadena Jet Propulsion Laboratory and has volunteered as a member of the Board of Directors of the Glendale Credit Union from 1980 to the present. He has served on the Alpine County Board of Supervisors and is running again this year. He is a Vietnam Veteran.

It is not just people, but also animals that Tom and Jane love. They always have a rescue that has been taken in. Currently they have 1 dog and 3 cats, along with their family horses.

The 6th Annual Sweeney’s Soup Kitchen is on Saturday February 13th, and starts at 6pm. There will be at least 15 kinds of soup. Tom and Jane supply bowls, plates and spoons, soft drinks, water, and coffee. If you have a favorite soup, bread, or dessert, please bring it along. Live music will be provided by local guitarist Steve Hibbs. Their home is located at 680 Chambers Lane in Woodfords. Call 530 694-2919 for more information and directions. This is a wonderful chance to mingle with old and new friends, enjoy a delicious meal, and help those in need at the same time.