The Soupe de Tour program is shutting down after several years.
Canadian Mental Health Association-South Cariboo Branch executive director Susann Collins announced on May 29 that Soupe de Tour has had to cease operating due to lack of ongoing funding and the high cost of accessing a commercial kitchen.
“Our request to the [South Cariboo] Joint Committee was not successful: they have neither agreed to waive the clean-up fees, or to give us an annual rate for accessing the kitchen.”
Even with the $5,000 from the South Cariboo Health Foundation (SCHF) which the CMHA is so very grateful for, it remains $1,500 “in the hole”, she explains.
“Our bookkeeper appraised me of the exact current financial situation of Soupe de Tour, and it is more dire than I had thought.
“Without any current options for ongoing funding, and together with our request to the Joint Committee for a reduction in fees charged for accessing The Lodge kitchen being denied, we have had to make the very difficult decision to shut down Soupe de Tour and cease its operations, effective immediately.”
The South Cariboo Joint Committee (SCJC) is made up of representatives of the District of 100 Mile House Council and Cariboo Regional District directors. The District is responsible for The Lodge and Commercial Kitchen in the Valley Room, with certain recreational funding also provided by the CRD.
The CMHA thanks all the other community volunteers, with its special thanks to the SCHF for their significant support.
“We are so very aware that Soupe de Tour would not have operated anywhere near as long as it has if it weren’t for the support of the South Cariboo Health Foundation.
“We will be looking for another way to get Soupe de Tour back up and running so that our volunteers can continue to make the soup we give out to those in need,” Collins says, adding it would have to be in a different venue with a much lower cost attached to accessing a commercial kitchen.
The SCJC’s co-chair, District Mayor Mitch Campsall, says it is about more than a kitchen discount, noting there are at least three other societies asking for the same thing.
“The joint committee voted it down because of the fact that we are already giving to the community, in organizations similar to this, up to about $50,000 worth of costs on the Martin Exeter Hall/Lodge, as it is, a year – that is our losses.”
The SCJC has also already provided funding to CMHA’s program, including a grant-in-aid at the beginning of the year, Campsall adds.
“We can only go so far. The taxpayers of the South Cariboo can only fund so much in our community, and we are trying to spread it out to everybody.”