By Kalinowski, Tim on May 2, 2020.
With an outpouring of financial support from the community and the enthusiasm of a new group of volunteers, the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen will now be offering a hot evening meal to the city’s homeless and others in need seven nights a week.
“It’s the first time in our 35-year-history we have offered an evening meal,” confirms Bill Ginther, executive director of the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen. “We will be doing that seven nights a week at 6 p.m. each day. There really is a need for a hot meal. There are agencies around town which are providing food, for example bagged lunches and things like that. Which is fine, but we think our homeless neighbours need a bit more than that.”
The first evening meal was offered Friday night. Ginther says everything has lined up to allow this new service to come into being at a time of increased local need.
“The whole pandemic has shown that the needs of the homeless are really magnified,” he says. “They really have no place to go. Everything is locked up, and literally things like washrooms are not available, there are no public hand-washing stations, the mall is closed, the library is closed- – they literally have no place to go. So one of the things we thought we could do is enhance their lives by having a place to come to every night.”
Ginther has nothing but praise for the influx of new volunteers the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen has seen over the past month and, he feels, it could help create a more compassionate city going forward.
“I have often said this whole pandemic dark cloud has a gold lining,” Ginther states. “I think through all of this we have seen some amazing things happen. We have people who have had almost no interaction with the homeless in the past. Many of these people have taken a left turn rather than a right turn, but I think what I have seen is our new volunteers are taking this opportunity to develop a relationship with someone they never have before. I see a more compassionate city coming out of this. We are changing, and in most cases for the better.”
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