Downtown London soup kitchen reopens after shutdown
LONDON, ONT. -- They are busy preparing a hot meals for cold hands at St. Paul’s Cathedral downtown London once again.
Due to COVID restrictions they were forced to close their doors for lunch time meals for several weeks, but now retiree Tom Hollins is back in the kitchen volunteering for his fifth year.
“I got into making soups and I enjoy it,” says Hollins. “We give hearty soups that will warm people up in the winter time and they go home with a full stomach.”
Heather McNamara is the Fellowship Centre Coordinator at St. Paul’s and she has been worried for those they haven’t been able to serve during the shutdown.
“Not being able to see their faces and know that they're okay has been one of the hardest parts for me and the rest of our group.” says McNamara.
Barb Symington is the Director of Social Services at the Anglican Church and she says even though they can’t invite the homeless inside during lunch, they can still fill their stomachs and souls.
“People can once again line up socially distant from one another outside and we'll hand out a full lunch.” says Symington.
While the soup kitchen has been closed for several weeks, the food bank at St. Paul's has remained opened during COVID-19 from Monday to Friday.
“We’ve had a lot of new people come for help and people who haven't been here in five or six years are coming to use the food bank.” says Symington.
The soup kitchen and food bank have been mainstays in downtown London serving those in need since the 1970s.
Hollins adds, “some people they're coming in with a bag over their shoulders and that's their whole worldly belongings and they're looking for a meal and we'll feed them.”