Stone Soup (Wisteria Community Association) is a volunteer-powered registered charity that provides food, friendship, and donated clothing and supplies to at-risk populations. This includes people who are homeless, almost homeless, or street-entrenched due to poverty, racism, mental illness and/or substance use disorders.
Stone Soup started in 2017. We served hot meals from our Nicol Street location but were shut down by the City in 2019 due to permit problems.
Then COVID hit, prompting Stone Soup to resurface and fill the gap that was left when service providers closed their doors or reduced access to resources. Every night since March 27, 2020, Stone Soup volunteers have been helping people on the street.
At first, we were just a handful of people and a pick-up truck, loaded with donated supplies (e.g., sandwiches made from food from the Nanaimo Food Bank and Fairway Market, coffee from McDonald’s, blankets from Khalsa Canada).
We parked in the St. Andrew’s Church parking lot until ordered to move. We then moved to the end of Robson Street but were forced to move again because of complaints from business owners and residents in the area. Finally, we were permitted to park at the end of Wesley Street, near Franklyn Street.
From the back of the Stone Soup van, purchased with donated pop cans, we handed out more than 100 bagged lunches, all the while searching for a commercial kitchen to rent so that we could start serving hot meals again. But we had no luck finding a kitchen, so we decided to build our own.
We secured a location on Fitzwilliam Street in the Old City Quarter, and collected donations and supplies from generous and caring businesses and individuals in the Nanaimo Regional area. Several building contractors donated their time and talents. And a community of volunteers worked tirelessly to transform an empty storefront into a modern, COVID-certified commercial kitchen. At the same time, government agencies and local organizations provided grants and other supports so our volunteers could continue with our outreach efforts and community vision.
We are now operating our commercial kitchen on Fitzwilliam Street 7 days a week and delivering hot food by van to four evening locations in and around downtown Nanaimo. We also share the kitchen with other organizations serving people in need.
See for yourself the transformation of the kitchen (show photos/video of the building of Stone Soup from start to finish)
Stone Soup Kitchen
Gratefully working on traditional Snuneymuxw territory
WISTERIA COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION
155 Victoria Nanaimo BC
250 591 6443