Soup’s On volunteers part of a community

In its sixth year, the Soup's On program in Ashcroft has developed a life - and community - of its own.

Ashcroft and area continue to be blessed by local volunteers. How would small villages survive without these volunteer warriors?

Soup’s On every Friday, has been a wonderful volunteers’ initiative that is now in its sixth year. I guess we could say now that it has become a successful program meeting differing needs among our community members.

People of all ages, backgrounds and physical abilities, drift towards St Alban’s red and white church hall on Brink Street in Ashcroft every Friday of the year. We gather with friends to socialize; we congregate for a warm meal and are thankful for the friendly faces who greet and serve us. It is always good to chat and catch up on the world’s news with other villagers. Local workers drift in over their lunch hour to joke with everyone. This weekly gathering is as much about coming together and spreading happiness as it is about feeding the masses. Last week 102 people were fed a nutritious, delicious meal.

The menu is consistent. You have choice of two or three soups and sometimes a casserole, along with fresh buns from our wonderful local bakery. One of the soups is always a vegetarian option. In addition, salads or chopped fresh veggies and sliced fruits or fruit salad are served to provide healthy choices to round out the meal. Desserts are provided by many great cooks around town who often just drop in with surprise donations on Friday. One regular donator is Geraldine who kindly sends two dozen cookies she bakes herself – she is only one of many seniors who contribute through their food creations. There are many ways to be of service to your friends and neighbours in our area without doing the actual cooking and serving at a Friday luncheon.

If you have been to the luncheon you will know that one table is always reserved for the “Wacky Widows” who are a delightful group of regulars and old timers from our area.  They look forward to gathering and catching up on each others’ news and they brighten each Friday with their joy and laughter. They make fun of themselves easily as well as provide support for each other when life throws one of them a curve ball. And one of those Wacky Widows, Bernice, has carefully crafted and sewn the beautiful Soup’s On aprons you see being worn by the hosting team. Many thanks for that generous donation of time, ingenuity and energy!

The cooking and serving work is done by teams and the rotation is one Friday every two months. Some of the teams are from local churches, some from service clubs and sometimes we have “Mixed Blessings” teams. The Soup’s On Program couldn’t keep going without them.

When guests come for lunch, many are generous with donations as a way of showing their appreciation for the work done by the volunteers and the serving team. This creates a real win-win situation as the money that comes in through donations is given to the Food Bank at E Fry and to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. That means this little program works both locally and internationally, helping others develop sustainable food initiatives.

We are looking for some new people to join teams. You may have a couple of friends who would like to work together – a team can be created easily which includes them; several others will be added to lighten the workload on the particular Friday you will be hosting and serving. We work hard to ensure each team hosts only one Friday every two months (unless you want to work more often) and there is training offered so you will feel comfortable before you are flying-on-your-own in the kitchen. There are other options, too, such as once a Season or even once a year.

All volunteers at Soup’s On make a difference in somebody’s life. And while you may find yourself short on free time, the rewards of volunteering at Soup’s On are worth it. You find that working together makes for easy camaraderie and new friendships develop when working as part of the team. And the time flies by when feeding the guests.

If you would like to be part of an exciting, rewarding and valuable program serving local area people, please call Martina at 250 453-2053 or email and you will be having fun before you know it . . .