Out of concern for volunteers and the city’s less fortunate, the Penticton Soupateria is closing its indoor dining room.
They announced this change as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic scare.
Some rely on the Soupateria as a source for their only meal of the day, and considering this the organization will not be closing their doors completely, but instead change their serving protocol. Effective March 16 the dining room will be closed until further notice.
Instead, as a way to reduce contact between clients and volunteers, many who are seniors, bagged lunches will be handed out to those come by during the serving time from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at its location at 150 Orchard Ave.
We had an emergency board meeting yesterday (March 12) and we’re quite worried about this,” said board member Greg Litwin. “We have two causes of alarm for myself and for the majority of the board members is that first of all our volunteers are predominately older I would say 85 90 per cent are over 60 and 60 has been identified as a high risk factor. The other risk is, of course the people that go to the soup kitchen are at risk too.
“So we still want to feed them and we still want to help these poor people not going to be a permanent change, we’ll prepare everything so they’ll still get a nutritious meal. It’s just a precautionary thing trying to be proactive just trying to protect everybody.”
He added that those attending often come in waves so it would be necessary to sanitize the seating area between sittings which would also be difficult.”
While the dining room will be closed, the outside patio will remain available for people wishing to use it.
Operated entirely through donations, the Soupateria has been providing meals for more than three decades and has over 100 people, from students to grandparents who donate their time.
The nutritious meals usually include a bowl of hot soup, sandwich and desert. On major holidays like Thanksgiving, Easter and Christmas they offer a sit-down meal with all the trimmings of the season.