Doug and Tanya Hiltz, of the Wisteria Community Association, have started Stone Soup, an initiative to feed the homeless at night. (KARL YU/News Bulletin)

Doug and Tanya Hiltz, of the Wisteria Community Association, have started Stone Soup, an initiative to feed the homeless at night. (KARL YU/News Bulletin)

Stone Soup folk tale making real-life difference in Nanaimo

South-end Wisteria Community Association feeds people experiencing homelessness seven days a week

A Nanaimo neighbourhood association has turned a folk tale into a real-life way to help people experiencing homelessness.

The Wisteria Community Association started Stone Soup a month ago, playing on the story of the same name where travellers trick villagers into providing ingredients for soup. Tanya Hiltz, association president, said a record number 190 people showed up April 19 for soup, sandwiches and baked goods.

The event is ongoing, Hiltz said, and it goes seven days a week in her backyard (150 Nicol St.) from 6 to 10 p.m. Similar to the folk tale, the community contributes to make the event whole, including St. Vincent de Paul Society and Generations Church, which provides use of its kitchen.

“Every day we get a phone call from somebody that wants to come on board … that’s the whole idea, that’s why it’s called Stone Soup, the fable is you donate what you can. That’s why we went with the name Stone Soup,” said Hiltz.

Hiltz said the idea was conceived at an association event last summer where there was discussion about how there needed to be more done for the homeless after hours.

“I’ve always lived in the south end … I know the needs here because I know how many homeless are within our city,” said Hiltz. “We’re even getting them coming in from the north end. It’s needed. Sure, I’ll give kudos to Nanaimo 7-10 Club, I’ll give kudos to [Salvation Army] what they do during the day, but what is there for them at night when they really need it?”

Stone Soup averages about 150 people a night, according to Hiltz, who says she is surprised by the event’s growth.

“We didn’t expect to expand this fast, but we’re proud,” said Hiltz.

The association is working on receiving a charity number.

Hiltz said volunteers are needed, as well as use of another kitchen, and anyone interested in assisting is asked to call 250-755-1014.



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

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