Randy King cooks up some chicken for a big batch of chicken noodle soup at a Soup Sisters charity event Tuesday to benefit the Evergreen Transition House.

Hearty fare coming to Surrey transition house

Soup Sisters and Brother Brothers organization provides warmth and nutrition for traumatized women and children.

Nothing says comfort like a hot bowl of soup, and that’s just what Evergreen Transition House will get after the Soup Sisters’ Surrey launch at Bistro 72 on Tuesday, Oct. 15.

The non-profit charity serves more than 20 residential shelters across the country by partnering with local professional kitchens where Soup Sisters and Broth Brothers get together and make soup under the guidance of a chef facilitator.

Evergreen Transition House is a local 10-bed shelter that provides refuge and care for women and children fleeing abusive intimate relationships and potentially violent situations.

The Surrey launch, a fundraiser where Soup Sisters and Broth Brothers heard speeches, enjoyed appetizers and wine, and prepared 45 litres of soup, will help purchase ingredients and a freezer for storage at the shelter.

Once a month, under the guidance of Old Surrey Restaurant and Bistro 72 chef owner Philip Aguirre, the charity will come together to restock supplies and make fresh batches of soup.

“I do lots of community work , and Soup Sisters is just another organization that I thought was very valuable for the community,” said Aguirre.

In any given year, Evergreen Transition House serves approximately 150 women and children, but they receive about 2,000 phone calls from women asking for information. A large number are turned away, said Deara Dirk, senior manager.

Most stay for about a month, sometimes less, sometimes more, depending on need. Larger families take longer to get settled.

Women and children often arrive without clothing, children’s toys or important documents and come into an unfamiliar house shared with strangers.

“On top of the trauma that they’ve experienced, they’re now in a totally new situation,” said Dirk.

Because of the stress they’re under, they tend not to cook from scratch and aren’t eating as healthily as they might otherwise. Fresh vegetables are often wasted in the shelter kitchen.

But the donated soups, hearty and nutritious, will make a big difference.

“This sort of makes the place more home-like, and that’s what we really want, because they really do need respite, they need peace, they need care and safety,” said Dirk.

The heart-warming gesture of giving soup is catching on. Communities all over the province are inquiring about bringing Soup Sisters to their local shelters, said Sheila Alwell, the B.C. regional co-ordinator.

Soup Sisters was established in Calgary in 2009, and in 2010 came to Vancouver.

To learn more or make a donation, visit soupsisters.org

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