“I’m never surprised – I’m always amazed, but not surprised because we have a community that when it realizes what the need is, it intensifies and it intensifies, always.”
These donations came at a good time for the soup kitchen, which had been in “urgent need” for donations for some time now.
Ginther explains that with the COVID-19 pandemic hampering their ability to host fundraising events and less funding streams available, they had only received about half of what they would normally receive.
“At the end of October, our accounts were exhausted. We have some reserves, but they are invested in the bank, and not a lot, but a little. We had sort of used up what we had put aside, hoping we could weather the COVID storm, but the COVID storm is going on much longer than anyone thought. “
In addition to volunteers, the soup kitchen employs 11 part-time people. Before receiving these donations, Ginther had issued layoff notices to some of his employees.
Now, however, all of the group’s employees are safe.
“We serve over 150 meals, not all meals but mostly evening meals, and if we weren’t able to do that, I’m really not sure what would happen to everyone who depends on us. I’m really happy for them, happy for our staff, of course, but also very happy for our customers that we can continue to serve them.
With the short-term food operations stable again, they are able to focus on the long term.
Late last year, Mustard Seed and Lethbridge Soup Kitchen announced plans to merge in an effort to help the most vulnerable in a number of ways. In March of this year, however, the Mustard Seed left Lethbridge due to City Council denial of their two requests to rezone their facilities.
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Ginther hopes to be able to put those plans back into motion.