The servers at Soup's On include, from right: Ellen Reid, Nate Marsden, Charles Thomas and Becca McIntyre.
Soup’s On in Oromocto, and it’s delicious
When you join Soup’s On, you join a community
By Gisele McKnight
At Soup’s On every Thursday at lunch time, almost everybody wears a name tag — diners included.
Diners have become such an integral part of this outreach at St. John’s church in Oromocto that name tags just seem like a good way for everyone to get to know each other. Once you’ve been there a couple of times, you’ll probably be offered one.
And if you’ve been there once, you’ll probably return — for the four or five kinds of soup, the crackers, rolls, bread and biscuits, plus the dessert, tea and coffee — all for a donation. It’s a good deal.
Every Thursday since 2009, the crowds have come. By 11:50 a.m. on a recent snowy day, 54 people were already enjoying corn chowder, baked beans, chicken noodle, hamburger cabbage and something called Rockin’ Moroccan soup. On a good weather day, there’s at least 80, and sometimes, 100.
“It’s an outreach program for the community,” said volunteer Betty Gravelle. “It’s caught on. It’s very successful.”
There are St. John’s parishioners here, plus Christians from other denominations. It also attracts a lot of retired people, plus students and staff from nearby Oromocto High School and troops from Base Gagetown. Across the street is Oromocto Public Hospital, and visitors there often drop in for lunch.
“Once a year we invite the town’s outside workers,” said Charles Thomas, a warden at St. John’s.
He’s there every week, raising money for his church, but money isn’t the primary reason Soup’s On exists.
“It heats this building. It keeps the doors open, but primarily, it’s an outreach,” said Canon Walter Williams, rector at St. John’s. “For new people, they can come here and meet new friends. They come to Soup’s On and they come to church, and they’re not even Anglican. They’ve found a community here.”
The donations, however, have allowed St. John’s to support other causes, like St. Paul’s in Zealand when an oil spill put the church in jeopardy, and both Camp Medley and Camp Brookwood.