Gordy Robson’s column [Outreach must create synergy, Feb. 26 Just Saying, TIMES] on the Community Supper that has operated from South Haney for the past five-plus years, and from the CEED Centre for the past 20 months, took my breath away.
I have not seen such a biased, ill-informed, and snide article in a long time.
First, the Community Supper is not, “an illegal soup kitchen.” It is a supper, open to all who come, and though it now appears that the proper steps weren’t taken to secure neighbourhood and municipal approval, there has been no suggestion the provision of the supper contravenes any bylaws.
Second, from my perspective as a volunteer at this supper, there has never been any suggestion that we do more than feed hungry folk a meal. It seems Mr. Robson thinks that offering a hungry person a meal should be tied to getting them into treatment of some kind – a laudable idea, but, speaking as a person who self-identifies as a Christian, that would not a very Christian response to hunger.
Third, I know of no one who volunteers at the CEED Centre during this meal who thinks of themselves as a missionary. We, many of us having no declared religious affiliation, gather for an hour and a half to feed men, women, and children who need that meal.
I have never asked why those people don’t walk up to the Sally Ann. I have always figured that, when no one came, the need would be gone, or someone else would be offering better grub.
Finally, it appears that this Community Supper will carry on. The coordinators of The Anglican Street Ministry and The CEED Centre are working, apparently with the blessings of the mayor and council, to find a home in the South Haney area to meet this need.
Mr. Robson’s vision of how the needs of those we serve on Saturday night should be met appear to not be shared by everyone.