Happy New Year 2021! We begin this year with a great deal of hope, all the while happy for what we’ve left behind. And though our hope is not in vain, we have many things for which to be thankful from the year we’ve just completed. Here are a few of those blessings which we may not have recognized as we were passing through them.
You know about the extended time we’ve spent at home: we have had the opportunity to watch children and grand-children grow and develop, and we’ve had the opportunity to deepen relationships with spouses, friends, and relatives in ways we had not thought possible. Then there is the opportunity for renovation projects and those jobs like mucking out the basement/attic/junk room — the tasks that we’ve been putting off for so long — or the opportunity to take a course, a retreat, or to deepen within ourselves since we’ve been gifted extra time for reflection, meditation, and inner work.
Maybe we’ve found time to catch up on our sleep — blessed sleep — or think about the time we’ve been given to be outdoors, experiencing the world and all its wonders. The air! The sky! The gorgeous clouds and morning sunrises! The sound of birds singing and the river dancing over boulders on her way to the sea! When last have you luxuriated in the opportunity to connect with Mother Nature? How grateful we can be for the abundance of gifts we’ve received in this time of pandemic.
And yet with this virus and the subsequent restrictions, everything has changed, and Soup’s On is no exception. We can no longer host it and serve our guests in the way that we have done so joyfully in the past. It has been extremely hard to not be able to serve a healthy homemade meal and visit with our guests over these past 10 months. The teams we had in regular rotation miss their time together creating the nourishing soups, salads, and desserts: it is a lot of fun working together, and great friendships have been built through that process. Our guests, too, greatly miss being able to share time and a meal together.
This is to say “thank you” to all who have supported Soup’s On in this past year, especially in the way we have found to continue delivering the program. Many hands have come together to keep Soup’s On going, and you need to know how your communities have supported us throughout the year.
With grateful hearts we say a thousand times: “Thank You!” to the people and organizations who have donated time and funds to keep us afloat. First, many thanks to the teams that have come together to host and serve at the Friday luncheons over the years: their gifts of time and willingness are immeasurable, and support our communities greatly.
We have individual monthly donors and contributors who have donated generously to Soup’s On throughout the year. Their actions help fund the foods and vouchers we hand out to our guests each Friday.
The Village of Ashcroft has supported us with a grant-in-aid for $500; Second Time Around has granted us $1,000; the South Cariboo E. Fry Society has helped host on Fridays when needed, and shared food when they had an over-abundance; Ashcroft Terminal, with helpers, has become a regular sponsor for Friday luncheon vouchers; members of the 12-Step groups have donated funds in support; Kal Tire from Cache Creek has become a bi-monthly sponsor; Deb Tuohey of the Ashcroft Bakery has donated buns since we have had to change our format; and the Territory of the People has granted us a significant donation to keep our program afloat.
A local church, the Seventh Day Adventists, sponsored luncheons for an entire month in the summer and donated the funds to enable the Christmas dinner — Christmas fell on a Friday this year — and we are so thankful for their support and generosity. St. Alban’s donated the items for the Christmas gift packages for our guests.
Let me tell you about the vouchers. We have five restaurants that serve fabulous food in Ashcroft, and they provide lunch of the guest’s choice for Soup’s On. A guest will choose which restaurant they will attend for their meal, and bring in a voucher that they received at St. Alban’s hall. Some restaurants are available for take-out and some are eat-in, so our guests have options there too. This has helped Soup’s On continue meeting the need for connection and for healthful meals, and has been a measure of help for the restaurants, too.
Special thanks go to Tammy and Rob at Slim Jim’s for their Christmas dinner on December 18th — sponsored by the Ashcroft Terminal — and to Grand Central Café for Christmas dinner on Dec. 25. Ogesh stayed in town and committed to making Christmas dinner for our guests, and we are thankful for his generosity with his time and his food.
Do we not live in the best place in the world? And don’t we have the most wonderful people in our communities? We have so much for which to be thankful, and we truly are grateful and appreciative for everyone here. Blessings!