May 30th, 2024

Lethbridge Soup Kitchen to merge with The Mustard Seed

By Lethbridge Herald on December 8, 2020.

Lethbridge Soup Kitchen executive director Bill Ginther talks with a guest during the Tuesday lunch service. The Soup Kitchen will officially become part of The Mustard Seed as of next March. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Tim Kalinowski
Lethbridge Herald
The Lethbridge Soup Kitchen will officially become part of The Mustard Seed as of next March, and will eventually discontinue food service at its current site when The Mustard Seed officially opens its sober shelter, drop-in site and community kitchen at its new downtown location.
The Mustard Seed and the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen Association made the merger announcement on Tuesday.
“We heard The Mustard Seed would be coming to town,” explains Bill Ginther, executive director of the soup kitchen. “I made direct contact with the CEO of The Mustard Seed, Stephen Wile, and I invited him, and he met with us. We talked about the whole idea of maybe having a drop-in centre in their planned facility. A few more meetings took place, and at one of these meetings it was mentioned that when The Mustard Seed comes part of their contract with the provincial government is they provide three meals a day. And, of course, I put on my soup kitchen hat because that is what we do. So I started talking about what they do, and we realized our vision and goals, and our approach to serving the poor, were exactly the same.”
“They are also quite a bit bigger than we are,” he adds, “and they are in many cities. So we said: ‘Why don’t we merge? This makes a lot of sense to us. So that conversation started probably about six weeks ago, and it is continuing by the hour. We just felt this was a great fit.”
Ginther says there is also another reason to make the move to The Mustard Seed right now.
“The City has been wanting to get out of the building ownership business,” he said.
“We have been encouraged to leave our facility to make room for an expanded (non-sober) shelter. Alpha House operates next door, and they would like to utilize our facility for their service. We said fine, but we need a place to go. This (merger) answered that as well.”
“We don’t know when we are moving,” Ginther adds, “but the official merge is scheduled to take place on March 31. We will then be the operators within The Mustard Seed still doing what we do for homeless folks, but for the sober side — the non-using homeless.”
Given the fact The Mustard Seed offers services and supports to only sober members of the vulnerable community, Ginther confirms the soup kitchen will now mainly be serving that demographic.
“There is a sharp distinction between the using and the sober crowd,” he explains. “The Mustard Seed has always worked with the sober side and moved way beyond just providing food. They provide a whole range of services to people. Alpha House has a contract with the provincial government to provide not only shelter for those who are using, but also to provide food for them. So they will be taking over our kitchen with time, and they will be serving those individuals who are not yet moved to the non-using side. They will be offered food in the same facility (as now), just by a different group.”
“In the interim,” Ginther adds, “until that all happens, we are still providing meals for those at Alpha House, for those in isolation, and those who are in quarantine. We are providing meals for all those at this point.”
Ginther says he and his board are excited to become part of The Mustard Seed’s outreach here in Lethbridge to help bring meaningful change to peoples’ lives.
“This is really exciting,” he confirms. “This is something our city has looked toward for a long time.”
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18 years ago the Shelter was moved from downtown to reduce the number of drunks passed out/urinating in business doorways and having open sex.
Now, after destroying the livelihoods of many downtown business owners and killing many through the SCS, they want to put the final nails in the coffin by opening this site that will dramatically increase the issues. Anyone who has not seen the issues around the shelter should go and have a long look, because these issues are now coming downtown and if you thought it was bad now . . . wait until it opens up!
The city slashed the police budget, for years they have allowed public intoxication of drugs and booze, and people that are acting aggressively towards the public can only be scolded, due to their heritage!
Enough . . . the Council has blown over $37 million on the arts downtown, $21 million on a parkade/bus terminal, $10 million on the 3rd avenue/Galt Gardens ‘beautification’ project and for what . . . the park will see even more addicts in it and downtown will be one large toilet for these people!
18 years ago they had the right idea . . . except they should have treated the addicts who were just drunks and give police more powers to clean up our streets.
Let’s all go to Galt Gardens and have a few beers . . . after all if they can sit and drink a 26 ounce bottle of vodka with impunity, why can’t we drink openly.
And how about social distancing/wearing masks/washing hands/isolating when sick? The homeless don’t practise these measures and the hookers continue to service their John’s with no protection!
There are two laws alright . . . try drinking a beer on the streets of Lethbridge and see what happens when you are non-First Nations!
We have sold out our city and our streets out and just when there is light at the end of this very long tunnel, Council throws another curve at us!
Only this isn’t baseball!
Expect crime increases and expect downtown to see a dramatic increase in the “indigenous wanderers” the constantly move around finding something to get high/drunk on, to pee on, defecate on, and to pass out on!
And EXPECT paying tens of millions more to support all the people . . . the money pit just got bigger! Due to all of the services needed to compensate for the SCS, we already paid out over $25 million for about 150! Numbers will increase as all these new services attract people from all over, just as the SCS did!
Kiss downtown goodbye . . . the not so funny thing . . . with all the issues in the Galt Gardens, there are signs all over downtown directing people to the beautiful, fun park . . . great tourist attraction! Look at this great city, right!Go tell all you friends about this great city of Lethbridge!!
The one that was mentioned on a major TV series, where the cartel leader said he was going to, to build up his drug empire!
That is all thanks to our great leadership!!!

Last edited 3 years ago by ewingbt

Agree with you 100%. Is there a link to your cartel comment please.


TV show was Pure – Season 2 / episode 6 – “Wedding”
The character was a Mexican cartel leader.
If you don’t have an CBC Gem account you need to find another way to view. Telus allows watching Free TV shows on Demand Channel 107, go to CBC, then Pure – Season 2 Episode 6. The Mexican cartel leader is packing up towards the end of the episode and moving from Ontario to Lethbridge!


While you are clicking away with your ruby red shoes wishing the world was an Andy Griffith rerun, the growups on Council are trying to deal with a real-world problem. Poverty, homelessness and addiction are manifestations of deeper problems. Problems ‘enforcement’ can’t address.

Tearily criticizing and proffering these hyperbolic rants are unhelpful responses.

Did you ever stop to wonder why IMO asked if you identified as a Christian?

Seth Anthony

Without the use of numbers, define “poverty”.

In addition, are you suggesting that poverty is a catalyst for addiction? If so, then explain how for every one person that goes through this poverty that you speak of, there are thousands that go through the exact same and don’t resort to drugs and alcohol.

What is the difference between that one and those thousands? I submit that the difference is often one of poor parenting. That is, despite said poverty, those thousands were subject to parental love, while the one was subject to parental shame.

Last edited 3 years ago by Seth Anthony
pursuit diver

It only took a few years for this City Council to destroy downtown and the work prior leaders did to revitalize it!
In the last 5 years they have done more damage than COVID could have ever done and now we see it will be changed by the new sobering site that is opening downtown. The LSCO is supposed to be used as a Soup Kitchen and overflow Shelter and rumours are it may become a permanent location for the Mustard Seed sober shelter.
Our great leadership in this city once again has decided that downtown needs more addicts and homeless. May as well throw a match to the businesses downtown!
The damage this Council has done will take decades to fix, if ever! Property taxes will not be going up this year, but wait . . . the hammer is coming down and they will dramatically increase. Politicians that look out for their own jobs, instead of the people they are suppose to serve, need to be fired! Send them packing and take away their pensions!!!