The Humboldt Community Soup Kitchen has a new home at Westminster United Church. On Friday, September 16, volunteers and friends gathered at the church to celebrate a ribbon cutting and launch a new era for the program.
Director Kari Cenciosi was on hand to talk about the history of the Soup Kitchen and its eventual migration to the church. From the soup kitchen’s beginnings from the offices of Partners Family Services, then located on 9th Street, it grew until new housing was required at the downtown Seniors Centre. When the Seniors’ Club ceased and the hall evolved into the Gathering Place, the community hub, the Humboldt Community Soup Kitchen emerged as an independent non-profit entity.
“We moved here (the Church) on the first of August, and we’re very happy to be here,” said Cenciosi. “The kitchen is amazing - the environment is amazing. Now we have wonderful volunteers who come in every Tuesday because they’re hearts are in the right place. They are the heart of this.”
The downtown location in the community had been critical to the operation of the soup kitchen in terms of people being able to access a warm meal. During the pandemic lockdown however, things changed. In order to ensure safe access to a weekly meal for its clients, the Soup Kitchen shifted to a mobile delivery mode where volunteer drivers would get the meals to families in their own homes.
The Soup Kitchen has undertaken other initiatives over the years including providing clothing, hosting book sales, and gathering and helping to distribute school supplies during the back to school season.
Elan Buan, treasurer for Westminster United Church talked about the arrangement that provided the Soup Kitchen the opportunity to share the facility. The Church undertook a review of its facility rates and availability following Covid and the vacancy created by some groups leaving. In preparing for the Soup Kitchen to come on board, Buan said some necessary cleaning and shuffling was undertaken. During that exercise, the group discovered a binder dating back to the inception of the kitchen in 2011.
“In that book, we found the names of faithful Westminster United Church people who cooked. In those days, they would cook the meals at Westminster and deliver them to the Seniors’ Centre.”
The church also had dedicated funds to help support the venture, so the return of the Soup Kitchen to Westminster United Church completes a decade-long cycle.
Rev. Brenda Curtis offered a prayer for the continued success of the venture, underscoring the need to support all in the community. Humboldt City Councillor Kelly Herpberger delivered greetings from the City and cut the ribbon to acknowledge the reopening.