Helping the hungry

Nobody deserves to go to sleep hungry. It is tragic but also a reality of this world we live in, that not everybody on this planet has all of their basic needs met. Hunger affects people all over the world for different reasons, oftentimes reasons out of a person control such as loss of employment, economic destruction, and government policies that do not properly support the lower class. For a lower-income family or homeowner to lose their job almost always has a detrimental result in their lives. According to the Food Banks of Canada data collection of 2018, 1,096,935 visited food banks in Canada; 35.2% of those people being children and 59.0% of those people on disability-related supports. What that tells us is that even those who are on support are still not receiving enough money to chose between paying bills or having food on their plates.
Sometimes it can seem incredibly frustrating knowing that there are more people out there struggling than we feel we can help. It is painful to know that the drive of only one person is not enough to conquer hunger for good. However, whenever we feel this way it is important to remember that it is not just one person looking to end hunger in this world but hundreds of thousands of us in Canada alone that dedicate our time to volunteering in soup kitchens and shelters.

None of us want to see our brother and sisters homeless or hungry, we would not wish that on anyone and so we try any way we can to make a difference. The beauty of human beings is that our efforts are never singular, there is always support and there is always another set of hands willing to help. We are a collective effort looking to make the lives of others easier with a hand up.

Here in Sault Ste. Marie, like every city in the world, there is a population of people who are not receiving enough help and support. They live in low-income housing and still struggle to make ends meet. Maslows Hierarchy suggests that without basic needs met, a person cannot become their best self meaning poverty is a direct factor in a persons ability to think critically, problem-solve and carry in them a high sense of self-esteem. This effects their ability to communicate with others, properly express their needs and build long-lasting work and social relationships. When a person’s focus is on survival, they fall short in other aspects of their own life.

We have built this world we live in today so that people would not need to worry about basic survival so that we could all be our best selves and live sustainably, so let’s make that happen.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Sault Ste. Marie Soup Kitchen Community Centre opened up in 1983 to help several people who had been laid off from their jobs in that area.
The wonderful people who own and operate this building receive food from donation food drives in our community. In partnership with Food Bank farm, The Soup Kitchen has been able to give away fresh produce to those in need and make boxes of fresh food grown by local Mennonites that are to be delivered and sold in and outside of the Soo. Fresh food is such an incredibly important aspect to have in a soup kitchen because canned food can be high in sodium and although it fills the belly, eating these foods frequently is a high factor in the rise of diabetes and other health problems in these areas. Each person has their own health needs and should unquestionably have access to food that fits their diet so they can embrace the benefits of good food-related health.

The Soup Kitchen Community Centre in James Town is extra special as they not only feed those who come in but have built a community among one another through sharing and offering lessons. The Soup Kitchen believes it is one thing to give a man a fish and another to teach a man to fish. They have found that there is a large percentage of people who do not know how to properly cook for themselves, a skill that you or I might take for granted as it is simply a  part of our everyday routines. Cooking is, however, a skill that pays itself back tenfold in gratitude, confidence and the ability to pass that knowledge on to others.

This year on October 26th The soup Kitchen will be holding their Great Soup Kitchen Annual Sleepover designed to simulate homelessness for those who have a home and are not worried about how the food will get to their plates. This is an event that locals from every end of Sault Ste. Marie attends to show support and help raise money to ease the lives of those struggling. At this event, those who come out will spend the evening living inside a cardboard box (which they often will decorate), sit around a barrel fire and play music together to bring a bit of cheer to this otherwise very real exercise. The people celebrating know that life for those who have to live on the streets is no party, however, the goal is to raise money and awareness and to show that there is an effort being made to combat homelessness and hunger.

The Soup Kitchen puts every effort forward to make a difference. They run two after school programs for youth ages 6 to 12 where they can have a chance to experience things such as sports, field trips, and group lessons. Many of these children have returned, as adults, to thank the Soup Kitchen for steering them in the right direction and offering opportunities that their families otherwise could not afford.
From the wonderful efforts, our locals have made to continuously support The Soup Kitchen to the dedication of volunteers, schools, businesses, and people who raise money and collect food for the charitable donation. If you are new to the Soo or just wondering how you can help, don’t ever doubt that your efforts are enough. Every hand and every heart counts. We are connected with one another in this city and are working together we do make a huge difference.
We truly are a community that cares.

Show your support by following The Soup Kitchen on Facebook

Call The Soup Kitchen to see if they could use a hand today.
(705)942-2694

And just in case you need a Map

Soup Kitchen Community Centre Volunteers
Courtesy of the Soup Kitchen Community Centre

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