Number of people in need of Easter meal continues to grow
REGINA – Half an hour before doors were set to open at Zieke’s Place in St. Andrew’s United Church, a lineup snaked around the block.
“It means a lot for the community and everybody in it. If you take a look at this line, there’s a lot of people in it. A lot of people are hungry,” said Elijah Allery. The young man attended his first Easter meal through Souls Harbour Rescue Mission on Saturday.
“I never had an Easter meal in years. This will be my first one in a while, so that’s pretty nice,” he said.
The event is run entirely on donations, using volunteer labour. About 60 people helped prepare the food, decorate the hall and welcome guests.
A quarter of those volunteers came from the Free Methodist Church and drove all the way from Weyburn just to lend a helping hand.
“What I like most is seeing them happy,” said Randi Carlson with the Free Methodist Church. “I like to see them all enjoy being together and eating.”
This year, volunteers cooked around 700 meals to feed the hungry.
Last year’s event saw about 350 people in need come for a hot meal, but Katrina Robinson with Soul’s Harbour said the group is always prepared to feed extra people.
“For each of our holiday meals, we’ve increased over the previous year,” she said. “It’s gaining word of mouth in the community where people can come get a good, nutritious Easter meal with their families. So I think that’s why we’re seeing the numbers go up.”
Souls Harbour hosts two other holiday meals besides Easter, on Thanksgiving and Christmas, but the goal is always the same, according to Robinson.
“We want our guests, and the vulnerable members of the community to have the same holiday experience that each of us look forward to with our families.”