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Olds soup kitchen up and running

Pastor Olav Traa stresses Clint's Kitchen is "here for the long haul"
Chris Andrew ladles out some soup at Clint’s Kitchen, a soup kitchen in Olds that served its first meals Feb. 14. It will be open every Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.

OLDS — A soup kitchen in Olds opened its doors for the first time the evening of Feb. 14 St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.

About 35 people attended, including some volunteers and parishioners.

The soup kitchen, known as Clint’s Kitchen, is open every Wednesday, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the church, located at 5022 52nd St.

The kitchen is the brainchild of local resident Clint Jackson, assisted by Olav Traa, pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.

Jackson got the idea for the kitchen last fall after learning about the success of a soup kitchen in Didsbury. He thought Olds needs one too, for those who are less fortunate.

Traa said the plan wasn’t specifically to open on Valentine’s Day, that was just a coincidence; it happened to be the best day for organizers to get it up and running.

But he agreed a soup kitchen is a demonstration of love for the community.

Traa said prep for the big day “chopping, shopping,” began a couple of days beforehand.

Three soups were donated: beef and barley, corn chowder and cabbage.

“Actually, one of the soups, the chowder, comes from a recipe from one of the parishioners here at St. Paul’s,” Traa said.

“It’s one of her beloved. She said ‘you must try this recipe. It’s my favourite recipe for chowder and my family loves it.’”

Traa said organizers have been overwhelmed by the volunteerism from the public. Teams of people offering to help have spontaneously formed on social media and are very enthusiastic.  

"Everyone was super happy with the outcome," he said. "It gave us a chance to practise executing in real time what we’ve been planning for several months."

Traa said there’s so much enthusiasm that the kitchen is “booked” until late June/summer.

“Interestingly, we’ve had several people offer us recipes for soups,” he said.

“So we might, for example, have somebody donate a pot with their favourite curry lentil soup recipe or something like that. So we have more soups that we’re going to try as we move forward.”

Traa was unconcerned about the number of people who showed up for the first soup kitchen.

“We’re not even worried about the numbers for the first day. We’re in this for the long haul and more and more people will get to know about this,” he said.

“You know, people at first might feel shy to come for whatever reason, but we’re going to be here.”

Traa said the target demographic for Clint’s Kitchen is not just people who may be very poor and living on the street.

“It’s not just one demographic we’re seeking to serve. There are many different kinds of demographics out there,” Traa said.

“Older people that are looking to come out and perhaps socialize with friends. This is an opportunity to do that.

“There are a lot of people who simply can’t afford to go out to a restaurant and have a meal, to meet their friends at a restaurant and so this might be a way for them to engage socially and have that mental health piece that this kind of a social setting can help.”

Traa said groups like BGC Olds and Area, the Community Connections Centre and the Mountain View Food Bank Society know about Clint’s Kitchen and they’re encouraged to recommend it to people who may need it.

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