It takes an entire community to run an operation like the Penticton Soupateria on Orchard Street.
That’s according to volunteer Randy Cranston, who will be one of the roughly 10 volunteers spending their Thanksgiving making sure those in need have turkey dinner today.
During Thanksgiving and Christmas, this is especially true because of the number of people who show up for a hot meal.
“The problem is you never know how busy it will be,” he said. “You can prepare and then have 200 show up or you could have 120 people show up.”
During today’s Thanksgiving dinner taking place at the Soupateria from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., more volunteers are needed because dinner is served to people at their tables, instead of the usual line-up at the kitchen.
“Plates are brought out to them. And because it’s a whole turkey dinner — with turkey, potatoes, gravy, vegetables, dressing, the whole thing — you need all those people back here getting the plates ready,” he said.
“A lot them are here, like Chris, the main chef, will be here at around five or five-thirty. They come in early to do all the food preparation.”
Cranston said all the Soupateria, which is open seven days a week, 365 days a year, would not be possible without the generous donations from local grocery stores and shops. Without food donations, the costs would be through the roof.
Some of the generous donors include Cobs Bakery, which donates hundreds of loaves of bread and buns. Safeway is another as well as the Wholesale Club, which donates all the meat.
“Since the Wholesale Club began donating meat, it has significantly helped out from the point of view of money needed to run this place. If you went downstairs, there is a large freezer, and it is full of meat,” he added.
Some other food donors include Starbucks and Nature’s Fare Markets and other independent grocers donating desserts, among others.
Anyone looking to become a volunteer with the Soupateria can sign up online.
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