Soup Sisters help vulnerable women

Claremont secondary students cook up support for Victoria Women’s Transition House

A quartet of Youth for Change and Inclusion members Augusta Stander

More than a dozen students and teacher volunteers spent three hours of a Pro D day in Claremont secondary’s foods room Thursday (Nov. 12) to prepare 80 litres of soup for vulnerable women in the region.

Four different types of soup were prepped, frozen and donated to the Victoria Women’s Transition House.

“We give the soup to the women of Harrison Place, a third stage transition house for women aged 40 to 65,” said Transition House development director Susan Howard, who delivered a short speech to the students before the cooking started.

Rent is not free at Harrison Place, which offers support services, so the soup goes a long way, she added.

“It’s extremely helpful for the women. They’ve fled domestic abuse – possibly decades of it – and the fact that someone made food for them is very meaningful.”

The official group, known as the Soup Sisters and Broth Brothers, is a Canadian non-profit organization to provide comfort to women, children and youth through soup. Claremont science teacher Sean Hayes contacted the Soup Sisters head office last year and was the first school to join the movement, with students gathering for four prep days throughout the year.

“They told me we were the first school but there’s no reason why a school can’t be part of the Soup Sisters,” Hayes said.

Last year the Claremont PAC contributed money towards the purchase of food and supplies, as well as Country Grocer.

“I can’t say enough about Country Grocer donating a lot of food, don’t think we’d be able to do it otherwise,” Hayes added. “And I believe it ticks all the boxes for PAC with kids learning community and leadership.”

While Claremont has a group of regular Soup Sisters, and has had a few Broth Brothers, the team also receives help. Last week four members from the Claremont chapter of Youth for Change and Inclusion was one of the stations, providing 20 litres of sweet and sour beef and cabbage. Others that day made potato leek, veggie chilli and chicken noodle.

“YCI did this for a day last year and once I heard about it I wanted to get involved too,” said Cassandra Husk, a Grade 12 student and YCI member. “I hope to continue helping.”

YCI is an active group started by Vic PD Sgt. Paul Brookes, who rolled up his sleeves on Thursday to debone chicken with Hayes.

“It’s great to see the power of a group,” Husk said.