After a series of improvements this year, the Hay River Soup Kitchen held a ribbon-cutting on Sept. 5 to celebrate the changes and for a symbolic reopening.
Chris Aitken, the president of the Soup Kitchen, said one of the main changes was the installation of a new dishwashing system earlier this year, which meant the building had to close temporarily.
“I think the first day it was closed was March 18, which was the beginning of the Arctic Winter Games,” he recalled.
Aitken said, as that work continued on for a few weeks and the facility remained closed, the board became concerned about the effect on the hungry of the community.
“So we got permission to be in the Anglican Church basement,” he said, noting the kitchen returned to its regular building in June.
Aitken also listed some other changes for the Soup Kitchen – new lights in January, painting, reorganization of the storage room and more.
“We bought some new tables and chairs in order to try to be able to fit more people in the Soup Kitchen, and we managed to get maybe five more spots,” he added. “So we can actually sit about 20 people.”
Most of the changes were done with financial support from the Hay River Metis Government Council.
Coun. Steve Anderson, who represented the Town of Hay River at the ribbon-cutting, said the Soup Kitchen is a very important part of the community.
“There’s definitely a need for it in the community,” said Anderson. “Over the years, they’ve had great people running it and they’ve got a good board and great volunteers that keep it going. They’ve really made a big difference to the community.”