At Inn from the Cold, we provided over 43,000 meals in 2020 to families in our shelter. Making sure families get three healthy and nourishing meals each day is no small feat, we rely on the support of our community partners for help. A long-term partner, the Soup Sisters is an organization we can rely on for help to feed families— since the start of March alone they have donated over 1,200 servings of soup to us. We interviewed Soup Sisters founder, Sharon Hapton, to better understand how it all started.
What made you start Soup Sisters?
I have been a soup maker my entire life — I have always felt that soup is a hug in a bowl. As I, approached my 50th birthday and with my children leaving home, I found myself in the most giant nurture void of my life. I wanted to use my love of soup-making to give back to the community. The organization grew out of a vision of engaging thousands in the movement to deliver hugs in a bowl to families in crisis.
How long has Soup Sisters been in operation?
For the past eleven years, and it has grown to 27 cities across Canada and launched into the United States.
What is the Soup Sisters model?
The Soup Sisters model is that in each city groups of volunteers organize soup-making events. The events are centered around a night in the kitchen, spent with friends making soup with the goal of creating something heartwarming and heartfelt. At the end of each event, the volunteers deliver the soup to organizations that are helping families in crisis.
How have things changed since the pandemic?
With pandemic and physical distancing measures, all events came to an abrupt stop in early March 2020 — I knew providing soup needed to go on. We adapted our model, switched our recipes to those suitable for large kettle production, and reached out to VersaCold refrigerated transportation for delivery. Soup Sisters now delivers over 5,000 pounds of fresh soup each month to 40 charitable agencies across Canada.
Where in Calgary do you deliver besides Inn from the Cold and how often?
Soup Sisters provides delivery of fresh soup to 15 agencies in Calgary each month. Our outreach now includes a wide variety of organizations across the city, including local food banks.
For more information, visit the Soup Sisters website.