Corner Brook school starts soup kitchen to help feed the hungry

Mary's Kitchen takes place every Friday night in the city, staffed by volunteers, staff and students of Immaculate Heart of Mary school.
Thanks to Immaculate Heart of Mary School, the latest soup kitchen in Corner Brook has become a reality. (Lindsay Bird/CBC)

Staff, students and volunteers with Immaculate Heart of Mary School are behind Corner Brook's latest effort to help the hungry.

"We certainly recognize fully that there is indeed a need in our community," Principal Elaine King told the Corner Brook Morning Show, about the efforts to organize the school's first soup kitchen.

Mary's Kitchen is held every Friday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., where anyone in need can show up for free bowl of chili and a roll.

Students play a big role in the effort, helping to set up and take down tables and equipment, as well as socialize with those who come out.

"We feel it's incumbent on us as a school to instill citizenship amongst our students. They have to see us front and centre in order for us to be able to pass that kind of torch onto them," said King.

Attendance picking up

The first few weeks of the kitchen in January did not go as planned.

"Attendance was really not great," admitted King, adding the kitchen only saw a maximum of two diners per Friday.

"We were disappointed with our first few weeks turnout."

King said one factor could have been that the dinners were held at the school on Humber Road, fairly far from the city centre.

Attendance picked up when Mary's Kitchen moved to the Parish of the Most Holy Redeemer on Mt. Bernard Avenue. (CBC)

After consulting with other soup kitchens in the city, organizers decided to move Mary's Kitchen to Parish of the Most Holy Redeemer in downtown Corner Brook — and that's made a big difference.

"This past Friday, we had the highest population yet, so we're absolutely delighted with that," said King, estimating about 12 people came out.

King hopes they can double that number in coming weeks.