Calgary-based charity marks 10 years of serving soup to the hungry
Soup Sisters has served up nearly 2 million bowls of soup
Soup Sisters celebrated 10 years of feeding the hungry in Calgary and across North America on Sunday, National Soup It Forward Day.
And for founder Sharon Hapton, it was also a soup-er way to mark her 60th birthday — she founded the organization on her 50th.
So many families in crisis in our city, and what we bring to them is what we call hug in a bowl.- Sharon Hapton, founder of Soup Sisters
"I had a soup-making birthday party with about 30 girlfriends, and we made the very first batch of soup ever for the Calgary Women's Emergency Shelter," Hapton said.
Before starting the organization, she said she had recently become an empty nester, and felt the need to nourish and care for others.
Since then, Soup Sisters has opened chapters in 26 cities across the continent, and served up nearly two million batches of soup. About 20 other cities were marking the occasion on Sunday.
In Calgary, Hapton and about 150 volunteers made more than 1,000 servings of fresh soup for clients of non-profit Inn from the Cold.
"So many families in crisis in our city, and what we bring to them is what we call hug in a bowl," Hapton said.
"At the end of the night, when we ladle the soup into containers … there's nothing that moves me more than knowing we've done this simple kindness."
Local chefs Michael Allemeier (one of only three certified Master Chefs in Canada), Teatro Group chef Matthew Batey, and CBC Calgary restaurant critic Sabrina del Ben were among those in the kitchen.
Hilary Jenkins, with Inn from the Cold, said the donation is a big deal for the organization especially with many families feeling the impact of February's bitterly cold weather.
"We've seen high numbers in our shelter over the last year and a bit, and we're just working tirelessly to get families into housing and to stay safe," she said, adding that they're seeing approximately 62 children each night in its shelters.
"They're doing all the chopping, they're doing all the work — but on the other end, not only do I see that bowl of soup, but I see the community, the care and the love that goes into that soup. And when we hand it to the children the impact is amazing."
With files from Terri Trembath