Many thanks to Beverley Playfair of the Window Box Flower Shop here in town who donated the two flats of petunias to beautify the Saint Patrick’s Anglican Church, in appreciation of the work done with the Soup Kitchen.
From the street you cannot see the little garden that the people were so proud to make. But to give a plant to someone who feels unworthy or like they are no more than just a street person, a drunk or a derelict, restored glimmers of hope. Watching Larry and Kerry Sparling teach the people how to plant it and giving them a chance to show but for one moment, they are somebody, a human being, a person with talents.
My heart bled as I watched how honoured each person who was given a plant felt, that dedicated each plant to a loved one that passed on.
It shows that grief and letting go of a loved one still needs to be healed, to be talked about and to be let go. Getting the plants were a blessing to all, it made everyone proud to be able to make a garden, and it restored dignity and gave people happiness they long for.
People will not just be drunks on the streets if they are given a chance, given something to do and treated like human beings.
If everyone walking by, driving by would for just that one moment acknowledge someone on the street as a human being, to look at them for one moment as a human being, maybe then we won’t have so many people out there trying to gain visibility.
If many other people like Bev Playfair, the Sparlings, Roy and Gwen Andrews can come and take time out of their busy lives and volunteer at the soup kitchen, donate food, treats you would make a world of difference in people’s lives.
The soup kitchen survives mainly on donations of food, clothing and volunteer time. Jean and Sandy Bergeron from Maple Ridge sends boxes of clothing every other month. Renee Prince has been donating enough groceries to feed people and everyone loves wieners and beans, macaroni and cheese, and especially tacos. One day we had a taco day because a high school teacher with twin girls here donated all the ingredients for tacos. If I could remember her name I would say many thanks to her, that taco day was a memorable day. The soup kitchen is not just a free handout, a free meal, it is a place where a person can come to feel loved, have a hug, and where we can sit together, eat and people can feel safe.
Every week we have many dogs lining up at the soup kitchen also, no one is turned away even the dogs get the scraps if we don’t have dog food to feed them, no dog food has been donated lately and we sure could use some. Even the crows sit out on the fence waiting for us to put crumbs out, nothing goes into the garbage, everything is recyclable. Every week we serve anywhere from 70 to 100 people, and no one is looked at as different in the soup kitchen, no one is looked down upon, everyone is treated like a human beings, shown respect, and given dignity.
We are still hoping to expand one day, with the help of God, I believe in faith because we run on faith every week, that one day we can make the building big enough for every person to come in all at once, so we can also use the space for a drop in, and other activities such as art therapy. Right now the space is big enough for 24 people, but we feed up to 100. Sometimes I dream of a group of carpenters coming down the road with lumber, nails, tools and equipment, like they have in the TV shows and just help us to build our soup kitchen. The grass is overgrown, not because we are a lazy bunch, but because we don’t even own a lawn mower, weed eater or anything like it. One day I would like someone who owns all that stuff to say, hey can I come down to beautify your lawn, and wouldn’t that be a blessing.
Sylvia Sharon Isaac
Soup kitchen Coordinator