MANCHESTER, NH – Peter Kelleher is doing whatever he can to ease the pain of others who struggle with homelessness, and addiction. After losing his son Travis to an opioid overdose in 2016, Kelleher had to find a way to climb out of the misery and self-doubt that had taken him over.
What started as a soup outreach to those isolated and homeless has become a full-blown charitable mission on wheels. Kelleher, affectionately known as The Soup Man for his Bridgewater, Mass., soup outreach, drove his newly retrofitted bright red school bus – donated by Lucini Transportation – to Liberty House in Manchester on Nov. 2, to deliver a load of 200 backpacks stuffed with essential items to be distributed to homeless veterans, along with hundreds of blankets, donated by Beantown Blankets.
Some of the backpacks and blankets were delivered to the city’s homeless shelter for distribution, as well.
Kelleher’s bus is dedicated to his son’s memory, and will serve as a mobile pantry. So far it includes boxes of clothing, boots and other items, donated by Ocean State Job Lots. He’s always looking for more help at supportthesoupman.org.
When asked what brought him to the Liberty House, Kelleher said he reconnected with Manchester’s Ward 10 Alderman Bill Barry last year and learned about the Liberty House, and the problem of homeless veterans. Kelleher was more than happy to utilize his charitable outreach to gather up some tangibles and bring them north for distribution.
He says he couldn’t do it without his team or his corporate sponsors, as well as the generosity of individuals who provide donations of goods and cash to keep his mission going.
He’s also working on distribution of portable public shower units, which he says he’d like to send across New England – including Manchester – as soon as he can find enough supporters. You can check out his GoFundMe page here.