Winnipeg soup truck's missing ingredient: volunteers
Truck may have to stay parked if more people don’t come forward to help
A soup truck that feeds hundreds of Winnipeg’s homeless community on weekends may have to stay parked if it can’t find enough volunteers.
The Salvation Army soup van heads out every weekend to provide homemade soup to the city’s homeless. It needs about 40 volunteers to prepare the food and go out on the drives, but so far it only has eight for this weekend.
Mark Stewart is the Salvation Army’s residential co-ordinator. He has been filling in on weekends to try and keep the truck going. Stewart said a number of people rely on it.
"Usually people are waiting for us. They know that we go out Saturdays and Sundays. They know the locations that we are going, and we try to stay consistent with that," he said.
Judy McIvor co-ordinates volunteers for the centre. She said it’s hard to find volunteers in part because they have to have criminal record checks, child abuse registry checks and a driver’s abstract done before they can volunteer.
All of those things take time and money to get. "If people have a number of volunteer hours, we may consider paying it back to them, but we don’t put it out for them. For a lot of people, they’re not willing to make that investment," she said.
The Salvation Army shelter is open during the week, and chef Daniel Krupka prepares food for about 750 people every day.
He said that need doesn’t end on weekends.
"I think they look forward to it. When they see the van out there, they know they’re getting a very good meal," he said. "They can take as much as they want for the household for the day, two days, whatever they want."
Stewart said it’s more than just the food, though.
"The people that go out, they’re one-on-one with people. So, they’re not just giving out soup, they’re making community. They’re talking to people, seeing how their day went," he said.
You can find out more about volunteering for the Salvation Army by visiting its website.