With increased restrictions on how we live through COVID-19, we have all faced the challenges of changing to the times. Local charity, Soul Soup are a great example of adapting quickly to continue to provide food to those in need.
Soul Soup have been feeding our community’s homeless and vulnerable people in Woy Woy and Gosford since January 2018. Founder Nathan Griffiths has a simple mission: to provide nourishing food at no cost and create a positive space for connection and conversations.
“I could see an issue with homelessness on the Central Coast so I approached Orange Sky to partner with their existing operation by bringing a food service. It all started out of the back of my ute as a trial, and here we are now over two years later,” said Nathan.
Parked alongside Orange Sky’s clothes washing service, Soul Soup’s weekly visits to Kibble Park in Gosford and Deepwater Plaza in Woy Woy provide hearty meals thanks to generous food donations from Davistown RSL and Ettalong Diggers. The charity’s ‘no questions asked’ approach and respectful, friendly service has seen dozens of people coming to enjoy a meal together each week.
“There’s something so special about the chance to connect with and help others who are less fortunate. People just want to feel valued and listened to, and that’s what we do. We aim to support as many individuals as we can with meals, haircuts and most importantly, positive conversations. Soul Soup is built on the dedication and compassion of its volunteers and support from local businesses. It is a charity built from big hearts and generous souls.” Nathan added
Soul Soup had to adapt quickly when the social distancing measures took place across NSW for COVID-19. As an essential service and with a mission to continue to support as many individuals as possible, the service shifted to deliver food directly to its clients.
Volunteer Saia Latu has been key to the delivery service during this time. Saia started volunteering with Soul Soup in January and is proud to be part of a service that directly helps those in need and treats people with respect no matter what their circumstances.
“It’s been the support and generosity of local businesses across the Central Coast that has enabled Soul Soup to continue it’s much needed service during the social distancing restrictions,”
“Initially we moved to serve pizzas donated from Terrigal Dominos however, as restrictions increased we wanted to ensure we limited people gathering. We decided to shift to a delivery service and put the call out to local businesses for meal supplies due to some of our major sponsors having to close their doors temporarily.
“Thanks to the huge support from local businesses like Gosford RSL, Rajshahi Indian Restaurant, Rajdhani Terrigal Indian Restaurant and Activate Foods, we have been able to continue to serve hearty meals to many of our clients”.
In the time Saia has been volunteering with Soul Soup he has experienced many humbling moments, acts of kindness and conversations that are intense, saddening and heartwarming all in one.
“Our most vulnerable need your help always. Help can be in the form of a smile, volunteering, support, treating them with kindness and like a normal human being. Soul Soup will continue to do all the above and we hope our community will help us too,” he said.
Saia’s message to anyone thinking to volunteer with Soul Soup: “Soul Soup welcome the most vulnerable and helpers/volunteers with open arms. Our most vulnerable are some of the most amazing and nicest people I have met. They would give you all they have and their generosity blows me away when they have so little or nothing at all. We as humans have it in our nature to help each other. Wherever you are in life, giving to those in need will add positivity and enrich your soul (excuse the pun but it is true)”.
Throughout the COVID-19 limitations, Soul Soup is currently delivering food directly to those in need and with restrictions lifting, meals are being served at Kibble Park on Wednesdays 6.30pm–8.00pm and soon to be starting again in Woy Woy on Tuesdays, 6.00pm–8.00pm.
Soul Soup volunteer profile – Matthew Anderson
How long have you volunteered with Soul Soup? 1½ years
How does Soul Soup make a positive difference in the community? It’s the connection, we all have experienced difficult times at some point. To break bread, share and empathise with people that often feel no one cares. It takes a little of the load off the already strained system that lots of the homeless slip through the cracks of.
What makes you proud to be part of Soul Soup?
The gratitude from people that see the good we are doing, that then dig deep and donate. The RSL’s lining up to get on board, it all confirms that we are doing a great service.
Soul Soup in 3 words?
Caring, connection, community.
Local food businesses can get involved by supplying pre-packaged meals or if you would like to volunteer contact firstname.lastname@example.org