The famous mobster Al Capone sponsored a soup kitchen during the great depression. On average, his charity would feed about 2,200 Chicagoans 3 meals per day. No second helpings were denied. No questions were asked, and no one was asked to prove their need.

Mobster Al Capone Ran a Soup Kitchen During the Great Depression

Chicago shivered through a particularly bleak November in 1930. As the U.S. economy plummeted into the Great Depression, thousands of the Windy City’s jobless huddled three times a day in a long line snaking away from a newly opened soup kitchen. With cold hands stuffed into overcoat pockets as empty as their stomachs, the needy shuffled toward the big banner that declared “Free Soup Coffee & Doughnuts for the Unemployed.”

The kind-hearted philanthropist who had come to their aid was none other than “Public Enemy Number One,” Al Capone.

Capone certainly made for an unlikely humanitarian. Chicago’s most notorious gangster had built his multi-million-dollar bootlegging, prostitution and gambling operation upon a foundation of extortio… Continue Reading (4 minute read)

13 thoughts on “The famous mobster Al Capone sponsored a soup kitchen during the great depression. On average, his charity would feed about 2,200 Chicagoans 3 meals per day. No second helpings were denied. No questions were asked, and no one was asked to prove their need.”

  1. ToxicLogics

    Many criminals and gangs took care of their local communities. This was an easy way to keep your surroundings safe and gain some fans. Guaranteed if the police started asking questions, they were met with complete silence.

  2. BuhamutZeo

    Hol up-

    >Although he was one of the richest men in America, Capone may not have paid a dime for the soup kitchen, relying instead on his criminal tendencies to stockpile his charitable endeavor by extorting and bribing businesses to donate goods. During the 1932 trial of Capone ally Daniel Serritella, it emerged that ducks donated by a chain store for Serritella’s holiday drive ended up instead being served in Capone’s soup kitchen.

    lol

  3. CompetitionSeparate4

    The drug cartel in Mexico does the same thing. They pump a ton of money into communities so no one will snitch on them. Pablo Escobar had shrines built towards him while he was in power.

  4. The2500

    I knew about this because a mobster run soup kitchen was the premise for one of Telltales Back to the Future episodes.

  5. A40

    A corrupt, corrupting, sadistic, murderous criminal.. but with an eye for good publicity!

  6. RigasTelRuun

    It’s called a hearts and minds campaign. You get the local folk on your side. They see you as protecting them. The you can do all your crimes unhindered and they even cover for you.

  7. 44bobo44

    Seriously though, it also kinda makes sense to keep people in poverty above a certain level of health, so that he can continue making money off them?

  8. the_one_54321

    He sold them the booze they wanted, then used some of the money to feed them. Seriously, the only thing this guy did wrong was using a blood thirsty, corrupt organization and racketeering to do it. And cheat on his taxes.

  9. makenzie71

    “Mr Jameson, we’re with the Chicago police department. Your neighbor and his entire family were murdered this morning and we believe it’s because he wasn’t willing to pay for his bakery to be protected. Did you happen to see anything suspicious or do you believe he was at odds with local organized crime elements?”

    “No.”

  10. shavenyakfl

    Classic gangster activity. Get the locals to make you a hero and you don’t have to worry about snitches. South and Central American drug lords do it all the time. They build schools, churches, etc. It’s great P/R.

  11. amolad

    **DO NOT** be fooled by this story. It often comes up and there’s one fact that is usually omitted:

    “Capone’s efforts to feed Chicago during the darkest days of the Great Depression weren’t entirely altruistic. It wasn’t even originally his idea, but that of his friend and political ally Daniel Serritella, who was elected to the Illinois state senate in 1930. Nor did Capone invest much of his own money into the operation. Instead, Deirdre Bair writes in “Capone: His Life, Legacy and Legend,” he bribed and extorted other businesses to stock the pantry. In just one example, during Seritella’s 1932 trial for conspiring with grocers to cheat customers, the court discovered that a load of ducks that had been donated to Christmas baskets for the poor ended up in Capone’s soup kitchen instead.”

    He didn’t pay for it himself.

  12. Name-Initial

    Community outreach like this is common for criminals with a big public profile. For a while, Pablo Escobar basically WAS the government for a large portion of Colombia. Took care of schools, roads, etc.. If you minded your business, and paid your dues, everything was basically the same as it was in govt controlled areas. If you didnt, thats another story.

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