Over one thousand Syrian refugees have arrived in Ottawa in recent months to begin their lives anew and thanks to generous sponsors and donors they have been welcomed with clothing, accommodation and an outpouring of support. In April, they will also be welcomed with soup – the universal comfort food. The two Ottawa chapters of Soup Sisters, a national non-profit, are organizing “Soup for Syrians”, a soup-making blitz over a period over two days that gives Ottawans the opportunity to personally get involved in creating a tangible, meaningful gesture to let the refugees know that we care. The organization is calling on all interested Ottawans to join in; registration is available now and until April 14, 2016 at http://www.soupsisters.org/
For a $25 fee per one hour session anyone aged 12 and up can participate in the Soup for Syrians soup-making event taking place between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on April 9 and 16. The two day Ottawa soup-a-thon will make over 5000 servings of soup under the tutelage and watchful eye of Chef Wayne Murphy, professor and coordinator of the culinary arts program at La Cité collégiale. The soup will be distributed with the help of local agencies to Syrian refugees who now call Ottawa home.
“The Soup Sisters organization is all about comfort, compassion and community. Making soup for the Syrians as a welcoming gesture is quite simply who we are and what we do,” said Sharon Hapton, founder of Soup Sisters, who will be on hand for the April 9 soup making event in Ottawa. “We bring community together in a simple way to show care and concern for people – in this case, people coming to our country with nothing, who are fleeing violence and leaving loved ones behind. They are truly in need of comfort, and that is something that soup has always represented. We call it a hug in a bowl.”
“This event provides a great opportunity to gather family and friends together to do something tangible for these newly-arrived Ottawans,” added Hapton. “Our facility can only accommodate 40 soup-makers per hour though, so we encourage people to sign up right away.”
Hapton recently received The Meritorious Service Medal, awarded by The Governor General of Canada, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, who has participated in Soup Sisters events with his wife. The Meritorious Service Medal (Civil Division) recognizes a deed or an activity that sets an example for others to follow, improves the quality of life of a community and brings benefit or honour to Canada. The timing of this award is serendipitous, as Soup for Syrians is yet another example of how Hapton, through Soup Sisters, improves the quality of life in communities across the country.
About Soup Sisters
Soup Sisters is a non-profit social enterprise founded in Calgary in 2009 by Sharon Hapton. It facilitates community soup-making events to provide women, children and youth in crisis the comfort and healing warmth that comes from wholesome, home-made soup. More than half a million servings of soup have been provided since its inception in 2009. Soup Sisters has multiplied to more than 30 soup-making events in 22 cities every month across Canada and the United States. A growing network of more than 25,000 participants have collectively delivered more than half a million servings of soup to shelters in their communities, decreasing shelter operating costs and letting families in crisis know that their community cares.