The Helping Hands Soup Kitchen has had to adapt to the pandemic, and since COVID critical red, those adaptations have continued.
Co-Chair, Chuck Elliott, says Helping Hands has proven itself over the years to be there for its community for the long-term to serve people in need with a hot meal, and they expect that support to continue for a long time into the future.
Elliott shares how in some ways, Helping Hands serves three purposes; to provide a warm meal to those at risk, as a means of social interaction, and as a venue that offers volunteer opportunities for many from across the Westman region.
Currently, clients walk through the center to pick up their hot meals in containers much like a drive-thru. Helping Hands serves a hot meal every day, providing approximately 3,000 hot meals per month.
With the recent outbreak of the virus at Samaritan House Ministries in downtown Brandon, Elliott says they have seen an increase in those who come to their own soup kitchen.
As restrictions lighten, Elliott shares that many of the protocols that have been put in place will remain.
“We’ll still have to be very cautious, and it's quite obvious for any business. There are some good examples just this week,” he shares, alluding to the Samaritan House outbreak. “When you have a COVID outbreak in any business or non-profit it can shut you down completely, which affects not just them but the core people they serve, and so we’re going to be very cautious how we open up.”
“We really do want to get back to the same service that we’ve provided for over 25 years, and the building is set up for it,” he adds. “It has a seating area for over a hundred people and sees up to 200 people a day. But, it will mean that it will have to have a lot of new protocols in place for people to get tables cleaned and sanitized and turned over quicker. So, those things might take a few more volunteers and a really strong coordinator to keep that going.”
“For now, we don’t have to change in doing what we do the best, and that’s giving everybody a hot meal every day,” adds Elliott.
Written by Betty Sawatzky/Barry Lamb