‘This is helping us rehabilitate’: Clients at Penticton’s Discovery House cooking up soup fundraiser

Chester Demchuk (left) and Ryan Davis (right) are among the clients at Penticton’s Discovery House who have spent weeks cooking for the annual Soup is Good Food fundraiser. (Logan Lockhart, Western News)Chester Demchuk (left) and Ryan Davis (right) are among the clients at Penticton’s Discovery House who have spent weeks cooking for the annual Soup is Good Food fundraiser. (Logan Lockhart, Western News)
Ryan Davis thinks about the man he wants to be for his family when he steps into the Discovery House kitchen after he’s finished with his treatment for addiction. (Logan Lockhart, Western News)Ryan Davis thinks about the man he wants to be for his family when he steps into the Discovery House kitchen after he’s finished with his treatment for addiction. (Logan Lockhart, Western News)
Chester Demchuk has reconnected with others while cooking soup at the addiction recovery program. (Logan Lockhart, Western News)Chester Demchuk has reconnected with others while cooking soup at the addiction recovery program. (Logan Lockhart, Western News)

Discovery House’s annual Soup is Good Food fundraiser isn’t just about cooking and raising money — it’s about creating an outlet for people to rehabilitate and build relationships.

The Penticton addiction recovery program has dished out soup to the community annually for 11 years as a way to help fund the home and keep its services going.

The men currently enrolled in the program make the soup themselves, which plays a big role in ensuring those in need get treatment as quickly as possible.

“Being part of the cooking group is bigger than doing the cooking itself,” said Chester Demchuk, a client of the recovery program who currently lives at Discovery House.

“If we’re learning together in there, then we’ll probably work better out there. The cooking is like reconnecting with people.”

Demchuk recalled his habits of hiding and staying away from people when using drugs. Being able to cook in the house’s kitchen with others, however, has been an experience he’ll forever be grateful for.

“In my usage, I didn’t want to connect with people but (the cooking) makes me want to do that again.”

Clients who live in the house have cooked up dozens of litres of soup for the last two and a half weeks in preparation for Feb. 25, the day food will be delivered to community members who have placed orders.

Soup deliveries courtesy of the addiction treatment program will also be made on March. 4, 11, 18, and 25.

Working together, having fun and learning on the fly in the kitchen is one thing — contributing to a nationwide cause is another.

“Raising awareness is huge,” Demchuk said.

“We have a big problem, not just in this city but everywhere. The stigma needs to get dropped and we need people to realize to work together instead of working against each other, or else nothing’s going to get done.”

Meanwhile, Ryan Davis, another client in the home, thinks about the man he wants to be for his family after recovery every time he steps into the kitchen and cooks up the soup.

“This is helping us rehabilitate so we can get back with our families,” he said.

“Chester and I are both family men and we’re learning how to return to our families to be better men.”

All of the activities in the house’s kitchen are supervised by Shayna Shulman, a local chef who also uses the time to conduct cooking classes for the clients.

When the fundraiser first launched 11 years ago, a total of $800 was raised. Fast forward to today and Discovery House’s executive director Jerome Abraham has much bigger expectations.

“Last year, we raised just under $15,000,” Abraham said. “I’m hoping it can be close to the same this year, but we’ll have to crank out about 500 soups a week.”

One order of soup from Discovery House costs $8. Orders come with Cobs’ buns and McDonald’s coffee.

To learn more about the fundraiser and order soups from Discovery House, people can go to discoveryhouserecovery.com/food.

READ MORE: Discovery House dishes out Soup is Good Food fundraiser in Penticton starting Feb. 25


@lgllockhart
logan.lockhart@pentictonwesternnews.com

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