Soup program nourishes community
“Improvise, adapt and overcome.” That’s Mavis motto.
Mavis is part of the Russell soup program – which has been running weekly for the tenants of 2100 and 2080 Russell Road for three years. Nadia runs the program with Mavis and a team of 10-12 regular volunteers.
The tenant volunteers are dedicated to feeding their neighbours each week.
At first, Mavis shied away from getting involved, but Megan Poole from Options Bytown said conflict resolution training by Ottawa Mediation Services helped the tenants to learn to work together.
The training worked. It is easy to see the team of volunteers support each other and their neighbours.
For the first week in January, Mavis went out and got frozen vegetables to make the soup. Normally, the produce comes from the Ottawa Food Bank’s Fruits and Veggies program, but because of the holidays, the program had taken a break.
Nadia pitches in and makes desserts such as apple pie and shortcake. She also will often marinate chickens for soup.
Everything is made fresh the day before.
Each week, the soup program feeds between 20-25 people. A Spark Community Action grant from the United Way got it started and now there is regular funding and support from the South-East Ottawa Community Health Centre. Another grant from United Way last year made possible a celebration of different cultures through cuisine.
The soup program provides a much-needed meal and a chance for people to socialize. The volunteers will even deliver meals to tenants at 2080 Russell who are not able to make the trip to the lounge at 2100.
“It’s the largest turnout of anything we have organized,” said Community Developer Catherine MacDiarmid.
Last year, the program was a nominee for the United Way’s Community Builder Awards. The awards are given to organizations, partnerships, agencies, neighbourhood groups and individuals who work tirelessly and collaboratively to make our community a better place for everyone.
The OCH Corporate Volunteer Program honoured the soup program volunteers at a recognition ceremony on January 20.