New program delivers more than 300 soup packages to seniors in Chipman
'People are just so happy to have been thought of'
A new program in Chipman has been warming the hearts of seniors this year.
The Soup for Seniors program has distributed more than 300 packages of supplies for homemade soup for seniors living in the Chipman area, almost 80 kilometres northeast of Fredericton.
"We had so many seniors that just couldn't believe that somebody would think of them," said Tiffany Blyth, coordinator for Chipman Community Care Inc., a social services organization in the local community.
Blyth said the organization wanted to expand beyond its food box clients this year. And they picked seniors at random to receive the soup packages.
A vulnerable population
More than 50 per cent of Chipman's population is made up of seniors.
"We took this idea and ran with it," she said.
They also attached a note encouraging seniors to call them back for more soup or to give names of other people who might enjoy a warm meal.
"That first day my phone was ringing off the hook," she said. "People are just so happy to have been thought of."
So Blyth and her team kept going.
"We just picked friends, family members, neighbours," she said. "It had nothing to do with social status, financial, it wasn't food bank clients necessarily."
A 'humbling' experience
Each senior gets a bag filled with soup ingredients that were either purchased or came from the local food bank.
This would include everything from broth, fresh vegetables, canned beans or ground beef for hamburger soup.
After the packages were dropped off, seniors could take the recipe, follow along and prepare the meals.
She said some of the seniors they've catered to have health issues, so they tried to keep ingredients as nutritious and low-sodium as possible.
Seniors also receive reusable containers through a provincial grant, so seniors can keep the soup longer.
The packages also included safety tips on how to properly freeze and thaw soup.
"We just wanted to make sure everyone was doing it safely."
Program could start up again in 2021
The new program started in June and ran until December because volunteers, who are also seniors, were concerned about driving in winter weather.
So they're going to revisit in the spring.
"We'll take a break for a few months … or perhaps think of a new idea to serve our community."
With files from Information Morning Fredericton