The community came out to eat soup and raise funds in support of victims of an Esquimalt apartment fire. Soup with Neighbours was cooked up as a fire recovery fundraiser to help tenants get back on their feet after the April 7 fire devastated their building on Craigflower Road, leaving some tenants out of their homes for months.
Gathering at the Vic West Community Centre, organizer and Vic West resident Amy Bronee had three soup options bubbling away as more than 200 supporters arrived. The $5 pricetag for a bowl of soup (along with extra donations) raised $1,823.50, all of which went to the Esquimalt Fire Fighters Charitable Foundation which will in turn ensure it goes to those affected by the apartment fire.
“It was heartwarming to see so many people enjoying a visit with their neighbours over a bowl of soup. But they didn’t really come for the soup. They came to be together in a show of support for their neighbours and to help them get back on their feet,” said Bronee. “They came because they chose to make this that kind of community.”
Dozens of residents from the community and beyond – including firefighters from Victoria and Esquimalt – showed up to volunteer as well, delivering soup to tables, pouring water and distributing buns, and cleaning up at the end.
A large banner taped to the wall collected well-wishes and encouraging messages from those who attended, to be shared with the residents of the apartment later.
Musicians, seasoned and emerging, donated their time to bring joy to those sitting at the packed tables throughout the centre. Jade Tuapin and Eden Forbes, both 13, performed on their ukuleles – with one song really hitting home with a message of staying strong in the face of challenges. Steve Palen and Guitar Bill of the Herbicidal Maniacs entertained the crowd with a blend of country, folk, blues, rock and a touch of jazz.
With the Mustard Seed Street Church Food Rescue Project contributing most of the soup ingredients, Save-On-Foods donating the buns and a whole lot of love from the volunteers, it truly was a community effort.
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