MILTON — Aug. 28, 2011, was the day hundreds of family members, friends, curious spectators and complete strangers beckoned to “move that bus!”
Jusst Sooup, a soup kitchen ministry founded by the Rev. Dale Dunning, will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its appearance on ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” which brought the Jusst Sooup Ranch on Cool Spring Road to life.
A picnic event, for one and all, is planned Aug. 28 at the Milton location. It will start at noon and run until all are fed and happy, the Rev. Dunning said.
“It’s a cookout,” she said. “We’ll have lots of food to eat, talk … and let’s just celebrate.”
That makeover a decade ago included a new family home and huge kitchen, which augmented Dale and Ken Dunning’s efforts to serve those in need, hungry and homeless.
“I’ve been doing this for 22 years,” said the Rev. Dunning, who has facilitated many other soup kitchens in church halls throughout Delaware.
Schell Brothers donated the land and submitted to “Extreme Makeover” the Dunnings’ name, which was ultimately chosen for the renovation. Scores of people helped build the ranch, revealed when Dale, Ken and their son, Brooks, returned from a vacation in Niagara Falls, Canada.
“That was a miracle, all they did,” the elder Mr. Dunning said.
Dotting the anniversary menu will be hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, potato salad, macaroni and cheese, garden salad, collard greens, baked beans, bottled water and soft drinks, plus some sweet treats.
“I’m going to do some of my drinks. I take watermelon and infuse it … and have watermelon drinks,” said the Rev. Dunning. “I’ve always done (that) for my ‘Sooupers.’”
Mr. Dunning added, “There will be homemade pies and maybe even homemade ice cream. I make ice cream on special occasions. I tell everybody it’s a secret recipe.”
The Dunnings, who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary July 9, are also hoping to offer some entertainment at the festivities.
The “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” episode, featuring host Ty Pennington, first aired Nov. 18, 2011.
In the beginning, the Rev. Dunning’s soup kitchen worked with just a hot plate, then expanded to Crock-Pots and into a ministry. Jusst Sooup serves about 1,000 quarts of soup weekly to the hungry and homeless at various Sussex County locations, according to its website.
Jusst Sooup Ranch has been functioning as a church since 2014, following complaints from neighbors about its on-site soup kitchen. The issue made its way to Sussex County’s Board of Adjustment, which unanimously denied a special-use permit request to operate the kitchen on the 6-acre property; a soup kitchen is not a permitted use in land zoned agricultural/residential.
Therefore, the next step was to become a church, a permitted use in the property’s zoning. On the land is a little chapel, built entirely by the Dunning couple — except for the roof.