The clients and volunteers who participate in The Salvation Army’s soup kitchen on Tuesdays are a close community. Marcus Maloney, 87, has a bowl of soup, or chili almost every Tuesday, along with his wife Hazel, 82.
He’s been coming to the soup kitchen for almost a year to sit and have a chat with friends.
“We’re delighted to contribute in some small way to the success of this kitchen,” Maloney said.
It feels good to support a well-intentioned organization in its social service work. The kitchen serves between 50 and 80 people a week, but averages about 60 bowls of soup served. There’s no charge for the food, but the donations received keep the soup flowing.
The soup kitchen, that is housed at The Salvation Army’s social service centre on Harold Avenue, is manned by a small group of volunteers who the clients look forward to seeing each and every week.
“We love the atmosphere,” Maloney said. “You see people you haven’t seen for months and months. The staff is great.”
John Coombs doesn’t miss very many Tuesdays. And while the soup is tasty, he said the atmosphere draws him the most.
“I like coming because the soup is good,” Coombs said. “It’s good to associate with people here, even though I don’t have very many friends. This is a nice, quiet place to come and eat. I have a cup of black tea, then I usually leave, go home and read a book. They take good care of me here.”
Major Larry Goudie, The Salvation Army’s social services co-ordinator in Corner Brook, said the people who use the service are very appreciative of it and the volunteers who work there love it.
The kitchen started out as a monthly activity, but the need was soon evident and the weekly event followed within months of the start in July of 2007. While the kitchen is typically closed during the summer months, Goudie said that’s about to change.
“We shut down for the H1N1 scare for about six weeks,” Goudie said. “We shut down in the summer, too when it gets too hot. That’ll change soon. We’re going to get air condition through the building when we do some renovations.”
Carl King has volunteered as a cook for the last three years. He has seen the need for the soup kitchen grow since the days with only nine guests for lunch. The feeling he’s helping his community keeps King coming back. He said the group has become close knit and if regulars miss a Tuesday it’s noticed.
“We have a regular clientele, and we look for them when they’re not there,” he said. “Most people just enjoy the fellowship. We have a lady who lost her husband a while ago. She says she doesn’t have the courage to cook just for herself…it’s people like that we’re here for.”
By Cliff Wells
Reprinted with permission by The Western Star | The Western Star photo by Cliff Wells