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Laura Rose has been ousted from her long-time volunteer position as manager of the Soup Kitchen, which feeds needy people in Hay River.

She said she was visited by Chris Aitken, president of the Soup Kitchen, at the Whispering Willows Senior Complex on April 7.

Laura Rose, then president/manager, volunteers at the Hay River Soup Kitchen in October of 2016. NNSL file photo

Rose said she was told the Soup Kitchen board of directors no longer sees a need for a manager, effective immediately.

Asked what her reaction was when she told that her volunteer position had been eliminated, she replied, “Flabbergasted. It’s like somebody all of a sudden coming up to you and giving you a punch below the belt really good and hard.”

Rose had managed the Soup Kitchen for 23 years – from just a year after it started – and had served as society president for over 20 years, and has been nationally recognized for her service, including with the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers.

She has only been back to the Soup Kitchen once since April 7, she noted. “I managed to get in there and get some of my belongings out. That’s been it.”

Rose said she hasn’t been told why the move was made.

“No explanations, no nothing,” she said. “They just wanted me out of there.”

Aitken was contacted by The Hub, but he declined to comment for this article.

Rose admitted she had been getting very disgruntled at the Soup Kitchen over the last year, explaining one board member in particular – whom she declined to identify publicly – had been constantly on her back.

“And it’s really hard to work when you’ve got somebody looking over your shoulder all the time, watching you all the time,” she said. “We would get into several disagreements. And it’s just been getting too difficult.”

In addition, she said she was also having problems with a second board member, whom she believes was trying to get rid of her.

They wanted to take over and do everything differently, said Rose. “I did change a few little things here and there. I’m not totally opposed to change.”

However, she explained that some of the suggested changes she had already tried before and they didn’t work.

“I was thinking about leaving, and I was thinking about doing that this summer,” Rose said.

She will be turning 68 years of age in June, and had previously said she hoped to continue volunteering at the Soup Kitchen until she was 70.

“I’m still fit enough I can do it,” she said. “Maybe not quite as fast as I was doing it before, but I can still do pretty well most of it.”

Up until two years ago, Rose had been president of the society overseeing the Soup Kitchen for 21 years. However, she ran but was not elected to the board of directors at the organization’s annual general meeting in March.

The former volunteer manager said she was OK with letting things ride when she was ousted.

“On my Facebook page, I wrote that I’m retired. I’m quitting at the Soup Kitchen,” she said. “I decided to take the high road on it.”

However, she noted the board made her “really mad” when it removed her from the society’s communications and event notifications.

“I guess I’m not going back there anymore,” Rose said. “If I’m not wanted, what’s the point of going back?”

She added she is worried about the future of the Soup Kitchen.

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Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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  1. You have a wonderful legacy Laura.
    We are all proud of you and the amazing work you have done in Hay River, helping so many, many people to have a meal.
    Bravo and happy retirement!!
    Hope to see you this July when we return once again.
    The Cooks!!