Jerry Lee of Vernon Christian Fellowship opens the soup kitchen

Jerry Lee of Vernon Christian Fellowship opens the soup kitchen

Soup kitchen needs helping hands to continue serving

Hot meals have been served to people in need every Saturday for 20 years

Unless you have ever been in need of a free meal or have driven by All Saints’ Anglican Church on 27th Street around Saturday lunch time, you may not even know that Vernon has a soup kitchen. The fact is, however, that this largely unheralded charity has been serving about 5,000 meals a year for the past two decades.

For regulars of the Upper Room Mission, the soup kitchen helps to fill the void when it is closed on the weekends: for David from Newfoundland, the soup kitchen means that every Saturday he “is guaranteed to get a serving of a lovely meal.”

For guests like Elisheva who don’t frequent the Mission, the soup kitchen provides “a lifeline and a safe place to come for a nutritious lunch and fellowship.” On any given Saturday, the soup kitchen also feeds transients as well as families just trying to make it through the month.

As might be expected, the soup kitchen is mainly run by a number of area churches. However, for the past three years, Beairsto school, employees of Epicor Software and a group of retired friends under the name “Time to Share” have also been involved. While the venue and the kitchen equipment are shared, the groups take turns to cook, fund and provide the volunteers for each meal.

Recently the soup kitchen has felt the strain of fulfilling its weekly obligation: after giving so faithfully, “Time to Share” had to bow out, while some groups have had to reduce their number of turns.

“We are fine up until Christmas; however, there is a real need for new groups to join us in the new year,” said Michael Robinson, who heads up the soup kitchen. “If any group is interested they are welcome to get in touch with me through the Anglican Church and come see what the soup kitchen is all about.

“In addition to providing an invaluable service to people in need, hosting the meal is a lot of fun and helps prevent the compassion muscle that we all have from atrophying.”

It’s a sentiment similarly expressed by Stephen Lewis of Epicor Software.

“We are very thankful for the opportunity to help out people in our community,” he said. “It is a very rewarding and enjoyable experience and we strongly encourage other groups to do the same. “

For more information, call All Saints’ Anglican Church at 250-542-3179 or email allsaintsvernon@telus.net

The lunch is served Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. All are welcome! All Saints is at 3205-27th St., Vernon.