Joe’s serves its last bowl of soup

St. Joseph’s Catholic church closes soup kitchen after 15 years of feeding community's less fortunate

Kim Snow of Kimz Angels pulled her truck into the back parking lot of St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church for the last time on Tuesday.

Snow had her “Kimz Angels” truck bed full to the brim with non-perishable food like cereals, granola bars and soups to deliver to those in need, who won’t have the soup kitchen to go to anymore.

Tuesday was the final day for the St. Joe’s soup kitchen after 15 years of serving up soup and compassion to Langley’s most vulnerable citizens.

“But it isn’t goodbye, it’s hello to a fresh start,” said Snow.

A new priest is taking over from Father Don Larson in June and Snow is determined to work with him to get the soup kitchen reinstated.

Larson announced three weeks ago that the soup kitchen would close while the church looks at restructuring its outreach programs to those in need.

In a letter, Larson said Langley City had come to the church to say it was fielding numerous complaints from neighbouring businesses about the homeless coming from the soup kitchen.

Larson, who lives on the property, said he has found the homeless problem outside the buildings challenging.

“The present outreach encourages transients to bring their carts onto the parish property on Tuesday mornings and some of them forget to leave at the end of the meal.

“Not infrequently, the homeless have set up small encampments and slept overnight around the parish hall. This has caused much annoyance to the neighbours, the City and also at times the priests who live on the property.”

Closing the soup kitchen isn’t going to make the issue go away, remarks Snow.

Kimz Angels has been bringing food, appliances, furniture, walkers and clothing and fulfilling needs of those who come to the weekly soup kitchen for years.

She has even helped house a few who have gotten to know her through the soup kitchen.

She’s well-known by everyone there.

“We can’t keep pushing them from one place to the next. We have to find real solutions,” she said.

The solution is housing, Snow believes. But many of the people who use the soup kitchen aren’t necessarily living on the street.

“These beautiful people are not homeless, they are proud people that live from paycheque to paycheque,” she said.

“They come here to connect with friends and pass the time. They can’t afford to hang out at fancy restaurants. They aren’t asking for much. Just a place to go to have a meal and a cup of coffee.”

On Tuesday, there was a large crowd for the final lunch. It was made up of seniors, numerous people in wheelchairs and walkers, disabled and those with mental disabilities and mental health issues.

Food packages were given to each person who attended, consisting of bottled water, soup, fruit cups, fruit juice, Kraft dinner and more.