Soup and Bread (formerly known as Meals for Seniors) is one of the most loved and successful projects the Food Program runs. I’d love to say we planned it that way—but of course we did not.
We started making soups for seniors in May of 2011, and in that first kitchen we put 95 soups in the freezer. The project began as a response to the need for good, low cost, nutritious meals for seniors on our island. We worked with the Tuesday Walking Group to distribute those soups to seniors who wanted them, and I used to knock on doors at Page Drive. Local farmers help supply produce when they can (they still do). We had 6 kitchens that first year.
In the Spring of 2012 we started opening up the hall for lunch. We thought that as we all took a break from the kitchen and sat down to eat together, the community might want to come and join us. Now, three years later, we are open for soup twice a month, and sometimes more than fifty people come eat with us. Those people that can pay $5 for lunch do so and support the program, but no one is ever turned away hungry.
In 2012, in response to grumbles from seniors who were getting tired of just soup, we started making frozen meals. That year we had 8 kitchens and made 70 meals.
Fast forward two years. In 2014 we had 22 kitchens and made more than 1200 meals! Compare that to 6 the first year. At least 95% of those meals go to seniors (55+). Did you know that our frozen soups and meals are available for $5 at the Tuesday Walking Group at the Lions, the Health Care Centre and the South Hall? Soups are distributed through the Food Bank and the school. Over the last four years the project has been continually changing, and growing and feeding people in this community.
We have a super group of community volunteers who make all those meals and soups, and we couldn’t do this without their amazing dedication. As the program grows, they need help! It doesn’t matter if you can’t stay the whole time—a new person peeling potatoes or washing dishes is always appreciated! There are lots of different jobs, and no experience is necessary— just the ability to follow directions and have fun. Everyone is welcome.