With the fun of the summer season, people take advantage of warm weather by camping or travelling and this has affected Lethbridge Soup Kitchen’s need for more volunteers.

Executive director of the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen Bill Ginther shared the low numbers they experience for volunteers over the summer season.

“Something that we deal with most of the time, during the summer months, a lot of people are away on vacation. And so it’s not the highest priority to just stay around and come and volunteer. We’re a little low on numbers,” said Ginther Monday. 

A new online signing system for the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen has been introduced on their website at https://lethbridgesoupkitchen.ca/volunteer/   

Ginther noted despite having fewer guests eating at the soup kitchen;, they are still experiencing a high amount of numbers of people needing food.

“It is something that we work at. During the summer months, our numbers go down a bit in terms of guests, as well. We find especially since the city’s approach to dismantling encampments causes people to be on the move more… But we’re still seeing 100, 110 around that number, most meals.”

Lethbridge Soup Kitchen prepares and serves three meals every day and is not government-funded; however, it receives a grant from the city. Ginther said he’s seeing increasing numbers of senior women at the soup kitchen.

“We are seeing an increase in numbers. One of the things that that really grieves me is to see, especially senior women, we’re seeing more of that. And I don’t know exactly why. But we have, for example, let’s say the spouse dies, and it leaves one person alone and possibly still having debt and having to sell their home and ending up with nothing.”

Ginther shared soup kitchen serves more than 10,000 meals per month.

“We do upwards of 10,000 meals a month. I think a lot of people aren’t aware of that… So, we’re always a little lean on the income side. Our costs are over $40,000 a month to operate,” and the kitchen gets about $32,000 monthly in income, he said.

“It means that we are sort of tapping into our reserves. And one thing we’d like to see is more people maybe come on board in terms of becoming monthly donors.”

To donate to the soup kitchen, an e-transfer can be sent to lethbridgesoupkitchen@gmail.com or by going to CanadaHelps.org.

Ginther expressed the soup kitchen’s gratitude to Cornerstone Funeral Home for  a large bottle drive that resulted in a $3,500 donation to the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen.

Fundraisers have a big impact on the facility, he said. 

“Those kinds of initiatives are ideal. It means that we don’t have to utilize our own staff or volunteers and others to kind of pick up the torch, so to speak, and do the fundraising for us. So that’s kind of the dream when that happens. We’re always happy to have people come up with new ideas of ways that we can raise some funds.” 

By Steffanie Costigan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Aug 31, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Lethbridge Herald    Lethbridge, Alberta

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